Senators unravel in 5-1 loss to Canucks

The Ottawa Senators lost to the Vancouver Canucks because they couldn't maintain their poise. After goaltender Pascal Leclaire did everything in his power to keep it 1-0 after one period -- in which the Senators were outshot 17-2 -- Jason Spezza made an outstanding individual effort to tie the game at one on a full speed end-to-end rush. The rest of the team responded to this by not playing defense and giving up three unanswered goals, including a brutal shorthanded breakaway to Alex Burrows. There was very little to like about this game outside of Leclaire's play. It's a real disappointment to see how little support his teammates gave him after he put forth top effort even after the game was clearly out of reach.

Sens Zeroes: Alex Kovalev, Erik Karlsson
Alex Kovalev was particularly ineffective tonight, trying to force plays that simply were not there. He added to this mess by loading up on roughing penalties in the second period. Bad enough that he wasn't contributing offensively, but he put his teammates in a difficult spot with untimely penalties. That can't happen. As veteran, he should know better.

Meanwhile, Karlsson got way too confident tonight. Attempting fancy pass after fancy pass, it finally burned him in a big way as his lackadaisical play with the puck got him stripped and led to the shorthanded breakaway goal. He did not respond well, as his confidence was visibly lower after that: with a great opportunity on the short side, he waffled about whether to pass or shoot, finally decided to shoot, and completely whiffed. The result was a shuffleboardesque shot that Roberto Luongo simply put his glove on.

Sens Killers: Mikael Samuelsson, Ottawa's Power Play, Officiating
Ottawa's powerplay was beyond impotent.  Much like with Alex Kovalev, if it isn't going to produce offense, it needs to at least not provide it to the other team.  They failed at that, giving up a shorthanded goal.  Yes, I'm mentioning it again.  The SHG was the difference in this game.  Ottawa collapsed afterwards.

The Canucks hit Leclaire early and often in this game, and the penalties instead called were:

Goalie interference was not called in this game, and it is a mystery to me why not.  I am loathe to blame the officials for Ottawa's loss, but the Canucks didn't need any help -- they thoroughly dominated the Senators in this game.

This was exemplified by Samuelsson, who had a two goal, one assist night, and played smart, hard hockey. It's amazing to think a player like that was left off of Sweden's Olympic team.

Shot Chart of Misery:


Yeah, it was that bad.

Game Highlights:

Our own DarrenM was at this game, and has promised to post his thoughts soon, so look forward to that.  Next game is Tuesday, at Toronto in the safe confines of Scotiabank Place.  This team suddenly needs a win badly.

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