Both the Senators and the Leafs were playing the second half of a back-to-back, making up for the postponed game lost due to the tragedy on Parliament Hill last month. The fatigue showed in sloppy defensive miscues by both sides, but the Senators suffered a few more as they lost 5-3.
The game got off to the type of start that Senators fans would hope for against the rival Leafs. Robin Lehner looked great early, sliding across and robbing Josh Leivo just a couple minutes into the game, and a minute later Mike Hoffman took the puck off the faceoff and sniped a top-corner goal. The Leafs evened the score late in the period, and it was a weird one -- Peter Holland's shot tipped off Cody Ceci's stick, then tipped off Robin Lehner's own stick and got lodged in the netting, much to the confusion of everyone watching. The Senators would finish the first frame with a 2-1 lead after a delayed penalty call brought Kyle Turris onto the ice as the extra attacker, allowing him to sneak behind the play and fire a loose puck to get his second goal on the year.
The second period was a frustrating one, with the Senators scoring a goal but giving up three goals on nine shots against, digging a 4-3 hole going in to the third period. Ottawa's lone goal was a powerplay marker from Mark Stone, who capitalized on the rebound from an Erik Karlsson shot for his fourth goal of the year. All three of the Leafs goals were difficult to watch: La shot from James van Riemsdyk that Lehner got a piece of before it lobbed over his head for an easy tap-in; blown coverage by Chris Phillips leaving Josh Leivo free for an easy one-timer; and a short-handed goal by Mike Santorelli.
The Senators didn't fare much better in the third, generating nothing on the powerplay before giving up a weak tip-in goal to David Clarkson to give the Leafs a 5-3 lead. The Leafs would hold onto that for the rest of the game, handing the Senators their first regulation loss at home this season.
Sens Zero: Robin Lehner
Lehner got off to a great start and looked as confident as ever early, but that confidence seemed to escape his body after he gave up that first goal. He fought the puck, gave up bad rebounds, and just didn't look great. As usual, the defense was suspect and didn't offer him the support that they should have, but Lehner gave up four goals on 21 shots in the first two periods. It was an off night.
Sens Zero: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson didn't quite deserve the beating he took from the Sportsnet panel during the second intermission (he had 7 shots on goal and an assist), but he had a bad defensive game. He was on the ice for three goals against and on at least two of them (Leivo and Santorelli goals) he was partly to blame. That being said, let's not forget that this was the second night of a back-to-back, and he played over 29 minutes while no other Senator played over 20 minutes. Karlsson's undoubtedly tired from carrying the rest of the blueline on his back all year, so perhaps defensive lapses should be expected.
Sens Heroes: Mark Stone/Mike Hoffman
Stone and Hoffman had relatively cushy assignments (67% and 83% offensive zone starts, respectively), but they thrived in them. Each put up a goal and created numerous scoring chances. Hoffman also managed to fire off 4 shots despite receiving less than 13 minutes of icetime.
Still no bounces: Milan Michalek
Yes, his $4,000,000 contract looks worse by the day, but Michalek has played a fairly-solid-yet-thankless defensive game this year, but has been getting absolutely no bounces. Yes, it's concerning that he's shooting less than ever (prior to tonight he was at just 1.38 shots per game, a full shot lower than his 2.41 career average), but it's clear he's not getting the bounces, as his shooting percentage was under half his career average. He had five shots on goal tonight (in large part due to starting the game with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur), but has only a goal and three assists on the year.
The Bright Side
The Senators outshot the Leafs 41-30, so now Senators fans can understand what other teams' fans felt after the Senators' wins this year.
Game Flow Diagram (from Natural Stat Trick):