I’ve wanted to ask this Weekly Question for a while now but as a superstitious sports fan I simply couldn’t in good conscience write a blue team elimination article until it actually came to fruition (again). I published my last weekly question on May 14th and the very same day fortune smiled upon us as Tampa Bay eliminated Toronto. I feel validated in my choice not to write this article before that seventh game.
Now for the purpose of this exercise, that game on May 14th not only turned out extremely memorable (and funny) but it also featured an ex-Senator playing the role of hero. Who else but Nick freakin’ Paul could have pulled off such a hater-ass feat? So where does the Nick Paul game rank on your list of favourite non-Senators playoff memories?
As much as it saddens me (and I hope not for much longer) we don’t get to enjoy postseason hockey like we did during the 2000s (although we definitely took that for granted and also the endings always stunk) but a lot of you enjoy hockey enough to follow the postseason and find an unlikely team to follow temporarily until next season. I think a lot of us could have gotten behind Anthony Duclair and the Florida Panthers but I can’t get mad at Tampa for eliminating the Cats after fulfilling a much more important prophecy.
Of course 2020 had Columbus bouncing Toronto in the qualifying round (having also swept the President’s Trophy-winning Lightning in 2019). I probably don’t need to reiterate the glory of the “4-1 game” in 2013 but that ranks among the most beloved in our collective memory. In 2016, a lot of us had our eyes on the West Coast Sens (also known as the San Jose Sharks) who in very Sens fashion lost to the Penguins. And while the Sharks didn’t get the job done, we saw a lot of cities end lengthy droughts this past decade such as Los Angeles, Washington, and St. Louis.
Los Angeles as we recall knocked off the President’s Trophy-winning Canucks in 2012 en route to their first title (the same postseason during which the Coyotes enjoyed an improbable run to the conference finals. It feels so bizarre see Mike Smith doing it again a decade later for Edmonton. Remember how good it felt when the Coyotes beat Chicago?). And the year prior in 2011 a lot of Sens fans successfully compartmentalized their disdain for Boston as Zdeno Chara joined the ranks of ex-Sens who would hoist the cup (see also Chiasson, Alex). More comically, in 2010 the Bruins squandered a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia.
And all of that just happened in the years since Ottawa really sunk into the depths of mediocrity. Some fans have decades of memories of postseason hockey that have nothing to do with the Senators. The Islanders dynasty years, the 1986 battle of Alberta, and Marty McSorley’s stick all have unique places in the memories of hockey fans, and with only three playoff series wins in Ottawa in recent memory, I figure we might as well stroll down memory lane in the broader context of the NHL postseason. So let’s remember some guys and hear your favourite non-Sens playoff moments.