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Melnyk Steals the Show in 5-4 Senators Loss to Maple Leafs

This could have gone a lot worse, I guess

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

This game - especially with the off-ice stuff that happened right in the middle of it - kind of felt like that part in a time travel story where the main characters come back to their timeline, elated at having done their job well and saved the world, only to find out that their actions have had devastating consequences and that they’ve accidentally made things even worse than they were before. Whoever tried to fix the Sens by going back in time just showed up in 2019 to watch a Karlsson-less, last place team lose to the highly skilled Leafs, then found out that Toronto has just signed their star player to a huge contract while the Sens seem to be on the verge of losing three of their best players, all the while hearing Bob Cole’s confused and inaccurate commentary playing ominously in the background, and realized they needed to go back and fix things right now.

We have been abandoned in the darkest timeline.

And there’s nothing we can do except laugh.

The first ten minutes or so were all Toronto. The leafs set up camp in the Sens’ zone right from the start, and forced Craig Anderson to make a few good saves to keep the score tied at 0. Unfortunately, the Leafs got on the board after a little under eight minutes of good offensive chances, on a sequence that began with Ryan Dzingel flubbing the puck in the Toronto zone. The Leafs continued to dominate for the next few minutes, and shots were 10-1 for the bad guys by the midway point of the period.

The darkest timeline, indeed.

Or was it?

Well, yes, but it became marginally less dark when a Leafs player almost scored on his own net and Ottawa, perhaps motivated by such an incredible and frankly relatable move, actually started to play some good hockey. A number of players got chances, the shot clock started to look a lot less lopsided, and, with only a few minutes left, Magnus Paajarvi evened the score off a nice feed from Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

I would like to give a brief shoutout to the lone Sens fan in the crowd, who was shown on TV after this goal. Truly the hero we all need.

The second period started out well for Ottawa. Brady Tkachuk had a beautiful chance right at the start, and it looked for a minute like he might have actually scored. However, after reviewing the play, the refs decided that they couldn’t quite figure out if the puck had crossed the line, and so the call on the ice stood and the score remained 1-1.

Not for long, though. Duchene put the Sens up by one shortly after Tkachuk’s no-goal with his last goal as a Senator and the Sens officially had control of the game. Chabot and Ryan both got a few good scoring chances, but tragically, it was then that Eugene Melnyk opened his mouth. Or rather, it was then that media outlets started reporting on some things he said.

Now. I know what you’re thinking. What does this have to do with the game? But honestly, is there anyone in this organization not named Eugene Melnyk? Is there any sphere related to this team that he does not influence? Does the team even exist? Do the players? Are they all just figments of our imagination that we invented in order to cope with the crushing reality of being bound to a franchise owned by Eugene Melnyk? And could it possibly be a coincidence that as soon as the fanbase got distracted by his words, the team started playing badly? Probably, but it was almost poetic, the way things ended up happening.

By that, I mean that the Leafs came back, and quickly. In the last five minutes or so, they scored three times in a row to take a 4-2 lead going into the final frame.

Ottawa started the third on a good note, with a goal from Thomas Chabot bringing them within one less than a minute after the opening faceoff. Dzingel got a good chance soon after that, and Ceci got lucky when he ended up defending a 1-on-1 but the Leafs forward decided to stall, allowing the other Sens players to catch up and bail out their defensively challenged teammate.

It only took a few minutes for Magnus Paajarvi evened the score at 3 with his second of the game. I didn’t expect the Sens to embarrass the Leafs tonight, but getting scored on twice by Magnus Paajarvi is pretty funny.

Unfortunately, Morgan Reilly scored what would end up being the last goal of the game with just over 10 minutes left, and the Leafs controlled the play for the rest of the game.

You know. It could have been much worse.

Notable Performances

  • Ryan Dzingel made a lot of defensive mistakes
  • Ceci looked real bad on that second Toronto goal
  • On the bright side, Paajarvi was on fire!
  • Shoutout to the forwards for getting 44 shots! Damn, the Leafs really suck at defense, and that’s coming from a Sens fan.
  • Hotsam Batcho also had a few great moments during the game