On a day when hockey in the nation’s capital was the furthest thing from every Sens fans’ mind, the team didn’t give the faithful much to cheer for. Without their capitan, their leader, their talisman, the Sens looked completely lost. There isn’t a charitable to describe the team’s performance tonight. They stunk. If Sens management were searching for an idea of what the team might look like next year should Erik Karlsson be dealt, this disaster might give them pause.
With the game barely two minutes old, Colton Sceviour scored off a deflected point shot to give Florida a 1-0 lead:
There wasn’t much of anything Craig Anderson, or either of his defensemen, could have done on that goal but it was definitely an omen of things to come — Anderson wouldn’t last the game, and Ben Harpur finished an ugly -4 with the Sens getting outshot 14-4 while he was on the ice at 5v5. When I said earlier that there wasn’t a charitable way to describe tonight’s affair, I meant it: lots of Sens had nights just like Harpur’s.
Even the “highlights” were mildly depressing. Patrick Sieloff scored for Ottawa to make it 1-1 midway through the first and while I’m happy for him that he’s living his NHL dream, it’s hard not to think back on the part he played in prematurely ending Clarke MacArthur’s career. The 2017-18 Ottawa Senators: even the good times remind you of the bad times!
The tie game wouldn’t last long; Keith Yandle gave the Panthers a lead they would never relinquish with a little over four minutes remaining in the period.
Then, as if we needed more evidence that there was something off about tonight’s affair, a piece of the plexiglass came crashing onto the ice with just over 2 minutes left in the period. After a failed attempt to re-start the game without a lengthy pause, the officials made the call to start the first intermission early and play the remaining two minutes and ten seconds after the zambonis had gone around and the fans had secured a beverage and a bathroom break.
Sadly, the unexpected pause did the Sens no favours: the Panthers scored four times in the middle frame on twelve shots and that, as they say, was that. Marian Gaborik got one back fpr Ottawa but only some shaky play from James Reimer gave the game even the slightest hint of suspense.
What do we make of blow-out performances like these in the very end of a lost season? Not much, to be honest. When an already thin team like the Sens is missing their two best players, one of which they depend upon to play almost half the game, and they are faced with a team in the thick of the play-off hunt this type of outcome is always possible. On to the next one.
Filip Chlapik made several positive plays with the puck and was rewarded in the third period with ice time alongside Matt Duchene on the first line.
Craig Anderson was pulled after allowing four goals on 17 shots but it would be a stretch to say Mike Condon was any more effective in relief, particularly on the seventh Florida goal. Ottawa’s goaltending wasn’t good enough again tonight; or, just another day ending in -y.
Mike Matheson is one of the best skating defensemen I’ve seen in a long time. Some others on the Panthers’ blue line are bigger names, but Matheson looked like one of their best assets on defense tonight.