If you're an Ottawa Senators fan who watched this whole game, I'm sorry. It was a waste of your time. It was disheartening. I don't know if you can call something rock bottom before you've even hit the 20-game mark, but this feels like it. The Sens were not ready to play, and never got there. Remember that game last year the Sens lost badly to the Panthers but took all the shots? This wasn't like that. Remember in Sweden when Ottawa went up 4-0 on Detroit, only to watch the Wings storm back to make it 4-4? This wasn't even close to that.
It started miserably. The Sens weren't even ready to take their pre-game stretches, forget play hockey, gave up an early powerplay, and fell behind 1-0 just 90 seconds in. The Sens would go on to allow 10 of the first 11 shots of the game. They were gifted a 4-minute powerplay by an errant high stick and generated a total of one shot. By any measure, they were lucky to make it out of the period down just a goal.
In the second period, Ottawa wasn't so lucky. They still couldn't muster a shot, 5v5 or 5v4, and gave up another powerplay goal. The team challenged for offside, but by the rule that DJ Smith can't win a single coach's challenge, it was ruled onside. So the Sens went back to the PK, and allowed another goal. It was 3-0, the Sens were behind by 10+ shots until late in the period, and the game felt very unwinnable.
This is the kind of match-up that can bring out some true grit from a team with character. Your mileage may vary as to whether they showed that in the back half of the final frame; certainly Ottawa decided if they couldn't win at hockey, they'd win at wrestling. It started with Zack MacEwen, who showed he absolutely deserves to go back to being a healthy scratch for earning a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for no reason other than he was mad – at a point when there was still the outside possibility of a comeback.
From there, the game was inconsequential. The refs started giving out 10-minute misconducts like they were Oprah on Halloween. When all was said and done, 13 players got kicked out of the game. The benches were empty, the Panthers scored another goal, and Ottawa fell apart. Coaches talk about playing a 60-minute game. This felt like a 3-minute game from the Sens. We don't often write recaps this bleak, but they were angry and pathetic. There is very little positive to say here
- Brady Tkachuk at times looked like the only guy who cared. He was trying down 3-0, and even got to 5 shots before getting kicked out with 5 minutes to play.
- I'm not sure what we've doing with most of this bottom six. Chartier, Kelly, MacEwen, and Highmore have 27 goals in 472 NHL games between them. This team gets 0 help down the lineup.
- Korpisalo also kept playing, even making a couple great saves late in garbage time. Hard to fault a guy who allowed only 1 goal at even strength, and then was hung out to dry on the powerplay.
- There are going to be a lot of calls to fire DJ after this game. This team has had so much rest, so many home games, and they've done nothing with it. They're about to play 15 games in December. They're too good on paper to suck this much. A new voice maybe doesn't save the season, but it can't cost you the season, right?