First, there was San Jose, where a third period comeback gave a hint of warmth in the dead cold of the Sens’ season.
Second, there was Tampa Bay, where a stunning 6-3 victory gave the home crowd a second straight win against the league’s most powerful team.
Then, there was Chicago, where the team completely flopped to give up eight goals against. Back to draft lottery simulations, back to leaving early for the parking lot, back to your typical Senators.
And they have to play the Leafs tomorrow. Great.
The first dozen minutes started off really well for Ottawa, opening up the offensive creativity and getting plenty of pucks towards the Blackhawks’ net. Matt Duchene, who was questionable to even play, had a really nice sequence early, taking the puck away from the Hawks and doing a nice spin move to feed Bobby Ryan. It didn’t find the back of the net, as did all of Ottawa’s many chances in the opening frame.
The Hawks opened the scoring, with Richard Panik firing a shot past Anderson in a half-broken play. Playing in his 300th career game, it ended a 28 game goal-less drought for Panik, as Anderson didn’t have the right positioning to get a pad on it.
A switch must’ve been flipped during the first intermission, as period number two gave way to an explosion of offence.
It all started with a weak goal by Chicago to go up 2-0. Patrick Sharp dusted a shot towards Ottawa’s net, and an un-screened Anderson completely mis-read the play watching it go by him short side. There’s no reason that puck shouldn’t have been stopped, as it was a clear sign of what was ahead.
A juicy rebound given up on the penalty kill put Ottawa down 3-0 by the hand of Nick Schmaltz. Jonathan Toews buried another rebound at even strength just a minute later to make it 4-0. With the game just approaching the half-way mark, already with 26 shots against, Boucher made the decision to switch the goalies and bring in Mike Condon.
As flat and sleepy as the Sens were, their top line still managed to get them on the board. A high-energy shift from the five-man unit of Brassard, Dzingel, Stone, Chabot and Karlsson poured shot after shot on the Hawks’ netminder. Mark Stone was able to pick one up and on the backhand brought the Sens within three.
What seemed like a wasted effort in a lost cause started to gain a bit more optimism, as Ottawa suddenly made it 4-2 with a lucky bounce off of Derick Brassard’s chest. The comeback was ON!
Then it was 5-2 Chicago. Then 6-2. Two more power play markers, with Schmaltz and Rutta beating Condon. Both chances could’ve been saved, but alas, they were not.
And in what was very much a déjà vu moment, Bobby Ryan left the game in the second intermission with — you guessed it — a hand injury.
With 38 shots against and down by four, the Sens were given no mercy in the third period as Chicago piled on for two more. Toews and Kane picked up their 14th and 18th of the season, adding on to the K.O. that was completed long ago. 8-2 was the final score.
- Neither Sens goalie showed signs of competence, with Anderson especially giving up a few stinkers. Boucher has a tough decision ahead choosing tomorrow’s starter.
- Patrick Kane scored five points, a goal and four assists, as he was everywhere on the ice.
- Seven minor penalties for Ottawa plus a two-for-six penalty kill makes for a disastrous combination.
- Colin White’s second NHL game didn’t go quite as hoped, making a handful of costly defensive plays.
- His draft counterpart, Thomas Chabot, had a fantastic night. Leading Ottawa in TOI, a full game next to Karlsson mostly saw positive results for the Sens when the pair hit the ice. They were two of Ottawa’s three players to finish with a Corsi% above 50%.
- The game would’ve been a lot worse had it not been for Mark Stone, who even down by four was still trying to get his team back into the game. His passion for the team is contagious.
Individual Expected Goals (from MoneyPuck.com)
The Sens face the Leafs in Toronto tomorrow at 7:30. Let’s just hope the second half of the back-to-back turns out like the last one.