The Ottawa Senators could not have picked a worse time to visit the Winnipeg Jets.
Surprising, right? Personally, I’d have picked February as the worst time to visit Winnipeg. But honestly, after this game, February in Winnipeg sounds strangely appealing. At least then you can let the pain of frostbite numb your feelings, or possibly bury yourself in a pile of snow until the summer comes and you can forget the NHL season ever happened.
In fact, it may come as a surprise to literally anyone who has followed the NHL throughout the last few seasons, but the Jets are Actually Good now. They’re on a bit of a tear. One could even say they’re on fire.
The Sens are on fire too, but in a very different sense. While the Jets are a majestic, raging forest fire destroying everything in its path, the Sens are more of a giant, flaming pile of garbage that’s stinking up the whole neighborhood.
It was one of those games.
The game started off with a good ol’ too many men on the ice penalty for Ottawa, because even before any goals were scored, Boucher knew he’d need extra players on the ice if he wanted to beat this team. Although, given the way the powerplay has looked as of late, I’m not sure how much that would have helped. Anyway, the Jets scored almost immediately, of course, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
The Sens had a little burst of energy after the goal against that would end up being pretty much their only sign of life all night. Mark Stone very nearly evened the score, but alas, the puck hit the post.
In the very same play, Winnipeg added insult to injury by regaining control of the puck and promptly depositing it in the back of the Ottawa net. The goal was a bit fluky, as it was tipped in front at the last minute, but it was still a goal, and the Sens were now down two-nothing only six minutes into the game.
In the face of such incredible adversity, the Sens responded by going about fifteen minutes without a shot on goal.
I love this team.
As Winnipeg continued to play keepaway and Ottawa continued to flub every single pass and miss the puck every time it got near their sticks, Sportsnet made the best mistake of the night:
I’ll be honest: I almost believed it.
That play continued for the rest of the period. Condon was the only player who looked any good. I literally took note of every time the Sens spent more than a few seconds in the offensive zone, and they only did it twice.
Ottawa started the second on the powerplay. I’ll let you guess how that turned out.
In truth, the Sens didn’t look that bad on the man advantage, but then again I’m not used to seeing them maintain possession in the offensive zone for any length of time, so my assessment might be a bit skewed.
The play returned to even strength, which looked a lot like a Jets powerplay, and Winnipeg soon extended their lead to 3-0. Have we reached the point where the Sens need to have an extra man on the ice in order to compete? I think we have.
Phaneuf soon went to the box for a blatant cross-check in front of the Ottawa net, prompting the play-by-play guys to lament about the “good old days” when that kind of stuff didn’t get called. Yes, I too, am nostalgic for the days when athletes could murder each other on the ice without consequences. It was a simpler time. What happened?
The Jets powerplay was soon upgraded to a two man advantage and, to the surprise of no one, Winnipeg scored two goals, one right after the other, to take a 5-0 lead less than halfway through the game.
At this point, there’s not much you can do except laugh.
That, and cry. You can definitely cry too.
The 5-0 goal spelled the end of Condon’s night. As the Sens were switching goalies, Sportsnet took the opportunity to remind us all that Mark Stone’s parents were in the building to watch their son play. I, quite frankly, am offended on their behalf. They birth an actual superhero, and this is how the Sens thank them? Unbelievable.
The Sens got another powerplay later on in the frame and, incredibly, it did actually result in a shot on net. Congratulations, boys. What an achievement.
In fact, Ottawa ended the second period with a… what do you call those things? Like when the puck goes close to the opposing net but not quite in it, and it looks like you’re going to score but you don’t? One of those.
Now, clearly, after the mess that was the first forty minutes of the game, one would think that the last twenty minutes would be at least a marginal improvement, right?
Well, think again.
The Jets did not actually manage to score any more goals in the third period, thanks to Craig Anderson’s heroics, but they did manage a whopping twenty two shots on goal, for a final tally of 49.
The Sens didn’t get that many shots.
Ottawa did get one powerplay, and kill off one penalty. Dzingel had a nice shot ring off the post. Aside from that, the remainder of the game was quite uneventful. Or maybe I was just too busy questioning my life choices to pay proper attention to what was going on. Can you really blame me?
Don’t despair, though, Sens fans. The team has had some pretty bad luck with injuries and stuff. There’s still time for them to turn things around and finish two points out of a playoff spot!
Seriously, though, if you think this team is actually capable of tanking, you and I must have been watching a different team these last few years. They will go on an extremely ill-timed winning streak, and it will ruin everything.
- It seems unfair to single out any one player tonight.
- Anderson was pretty good.
- Bobby Ryan does not look healthy.
- Zack Smith left the game after the first period with what looked like a hand injury. Has Melnyk been cutting costs by buying cheap, ineffective gloves? That’s the only explanation.
- Yeah, that’s about it.
- Shoutout to Mark Stone’s parents, the true heroes, for sitting through this whole game. The things they do for this team./