That’s all, folks.
The 2017-18 season is finally over for the Ottawa Senators, finishing with their worst record since the first seasons of the franchise over 20 years ago; 28 wins, 43 losses, and 11 losses that went into extra time.
Playing without their top stars Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone, the Sens didn’t stand a chance going up against a Bruins team that’s been on fire for months. Boston’s two points from this game slipped into one point behind Tampa Bay for the top spot in the East, with one more game to go and none for the Lightning. After only a single playoff series win since their finals loss in 2013, this may be their year to go on another deep run.
Tonight’s matchup showed exactly what you’d expect: a Cup contender going up against the league’s 30th place team. Danny Taylor stopped 30 of 34 shots faced, as the Sens lost 5-2 to the Bruins.
The first period was pretty even between the two teams, as the Sens’ tiredness from playing the night before decided to creep in a bit later. The game went without a whistle for the first five minutes, with Taylor making a couple big stops for Ottawa. It felt like the first time in ages that they hadn’t conceded a goal in the opening few minutes.
In fact, it was Ottawa that managed to get on the board first, with Ryan Dzingel putting one past Anton Khudobin for his 22nd goal of the season. Colin White won the puck battle along the boards, and sent it to Matt Duchene who made a nice move to bring it in front of him. He found Dzingel open on the left circle, who wired a shot by Khudobin’s low blocker to make the game 1-0.
The second period belonged to the Bruins, who more than doubled Ottawa in shot attempts 22-10 at 5v5. Eight minutes in, Mark Borowiecki was sent to the box for a questionable interference call — a theme with some of tonight’s penalties. The line of Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak stepped out to start, and as you’d expect with that trio, they scored only five seconds after the faceoff. Tom Pyatt didn’t keep a close watch on David Pastrnak, who had the one-timer lined up after only two puck-touches. Taylor had no chance to stop the laser beam coming in his direction, as the game was all tied up.
It wouldn’t remain tied for long, though, as former Senator from last season Tommy Wingels picked up his ninth goal of the year, breaking his drought of fifteen games. He stripped Zack Smith of the puck in Ottawa’s defensive end, turned around, and sent a shot that squeaked through Taylor and over the goal line. It’s one that the Sens goalie would’ve liked to have back, playing in his first NHL game in over five years.
This proved to be the most costly period for Ottawa, as they conceded a third straight goal to put them down 3-1. Brian Gionta flipped the puck up... wait, Brian Gionta’s still playing?
Huh, turns out Brian Gionta’s still playing. Good for him.
Anyways, Danton Heinen and college hockey star Ryan Donato were sent on a 2-on-1 as a result of Gionta’s pass, as Thomas Chabot was pinching and Max McCormick flubbed his attempt at blocking the breakout. Christian Wolanin played the 2-on-1 well, although Heinen opted to shoot instead of pass, and Taylor wasn’t ready. The eventual game-winning goal put Boston up 3-1, heading into the final 20 minutes of the season.
Boston continued to be the better team in the final 20 minutes. With the Harlem Globetrotters playing back at the Canadian Tire Centre, the Sens may as well have been wearing Washington Generals jerseys.
While most Sens looked to have given up at that point with their off-season break in near sight, one player who continued to step up was Ryan Dzingel. On a line with Duchene and White, they managed to get one back, with Dzingel putting up an incredible individual effort for his second of the game. In a 2-on-1 situation against Zdeno Chara, he faked out both the defender and the goalie, and snuck it past Khudobin for one of Ottawa’s nicest goals of the season.
Remember the narrative that Dzingel couldn’t finish? Yeah me neither.
And it wouldn’t be a complete Sens game without Alex Burrows getting ejected, as he did in the final five minutes for chirping the referees after a potentially missed call.
In completely non-related news whatsoever, Jonathan Dahlen led Timra IK with 14 points in 10 games, en route to earning his team a promotion to the SHL. Totally not related.
With the game winding down, Mike Hoffman had a bad giveaway entering the zone, which led to Noel Acciari springing down the ice on a breakaway. He managed to slip the puck under Taylor’s pads, putting Ottawa down by two with under two minutes remaining.
David Backes added the empty net goal, putting the game out of reach once and for all. Final score: Boston 5, Ottawa 2.
- Gotta hand it to Christian Wolanin — he’s made the most of his ten NHL games. He surpassed my already-high expectations, which may end up winning him a full-time roster spot next season.
- Colin White picked up two assists, the first multi-point game of his career.
- Matt Duchene also had a solid showing, although it probably hurts to see Colorado beating St. Louis in the battle for the final playoff spot (3-1 as of writing).
- Danny Taylor had a few good stops and also a few shaky moments, but I wouldn’t judge him just off of one start. He’s a UFA after this season anyways, and it’s very unlikely he’ll end up getting another offer from the Sens with Hogberg and Gustavsson in the fold.
- And of course, Ryan Dzingel was the big star tonight for Ottawa. His 23-goal season has been one of the more positive storylines to follow.
Pierre Dorion, the floor is yours. First up is the draft lottery on April 28th.
And finally, thank you to everyone who’s been reading our coverage here on Silver Seven this season. We appreciate you all, and look forward to hopefully a stronger season of hockey in 2018-19. Keep an eye out, as we have plenty of exciting content coming your way this off-season!