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An Offensive Blowout

The Ottawa Senators and the Colorado Avalanche threw everything but the kitchen sink into last night’s 6-5 game with Colorado finishing on top. It was a fun game to watch, as the two teams traded leads and created chance after chance on the night, but in the end, it was a bittersweet defeat.

The night started off with a surprise goalie switch, as Leclaire started off the warm up practice, but then left with what was called a lower body injury. Elliott was then called upon to start the game, and he didn’t look comfortable at all. The first period was a shaky one for the usually solid goaltender, but his form improved during the course of the night. With Craig Anderson playing to potential, it was important for Elliott to step up as well, but in the end, this was not a game of goaltending, but a game of goals.

Karlsson, Michalek, Carkner, Alfredsson and Spezza all put points on the board with some good assists from Neil, Kelly, Shannon, Foligno and Kovalev. For the Avalanche, it was Duchene, Galiardi, McLeod, Yip and O’Reilly who did the damage on the night with assists from Porter, Dupuis, Winnik, O’Byrne, Liles and Shattenkirk. It was a team effort all around and offense was top of mind for both.

Unfortunately, undisciplined and sloppy play from both teams resulted in needless penalties and two 5 on 3 chances. This no doubt frustrated both coaches, but on the plus side, the Senators have improved on their power play effectiveness. They’re learning to take advantage of the man advantage and not have the frustrating pass too many that wastes away such opportunities when they arise.

One of the things that made this game so interesting to watch was the way these teams seem so evenly matched. Ottawa and Colorado have a lot in common: they’re both capable of good speed, they don’t play overly physical games, they’re both prone to penalties and they’re both streak teams. Colorado hit a 5 game winning streak with the game against Ottawa last night, but that was after a 4 game losing streak. Ottawa is also prone to winning and losing streaks alike, although this has been their most up and down season start in years.

Ottawa and Colorado played basically the same game, trading leads and letting the offense be the focus. The game was fast and competitive through and through, with some sneak chances that came off a good old fashioned shoot and drive philosophy. Players didn’t give up and made chances off what looked like harmless routine plays. It was a fun game. The difference maker? Colorado is used to playing marathon games and has won many of their overtime matchups. Ottawa hasn’t had that kind of record and overtime has not been kind to them this season.

It wasn’t surprising, although it was heartbreaking, to see Ottawa do what it’s already done in past overtime forays and choke off a risky move. The first few minutes, as always, are tight. And then, there’s always someone on the team who makes a mistake or loses the drop pass or is playing too far out to come back to defend the line, and the opponent capitalizes. That’s been the overtime story for Ottawa this season and it’s not a pretty one.

It’s clear that the message that Cory is putting out there is not getting through to the team, which is to play responsibly in overtime. The team is clearly trying to make things happen in that overtime frame, but they’re trying too hard and opposition teams know just to wait it out. The team has gotten the shoot and drive message; now they need to learn how to make the plays come to them and not force them when they’re in the clutch. It’s a learning process this season, but at least, it seems to be working.

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Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.

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In response to “An Offensive Blowout”

  1. Bulletts Dec 18 20109:39 pm


    heart breaker for sure, especially since they had the lead with like 3 mins remaining, but great game to watch and most entertaining so far this season for me…..I kind of feel bad for Leclaire because he was playing great, he’s cursed…

  2. Mika Oehling Dec 19 201012:11 pm


    My thoughts on Leclaire are not personal; he’s just unlucky and unreliable. Elliott should be ready to go every night, because he’s our true number one. it was a heartbreaker in the end, but a great game to watch and it was nice to see so much fight in the usual lacklustre team. With the slumping Capitals coming into town, let’s hope that the Sens can rally hard and take advantage.

    1. Dan Rakusan Dec 19 20102:38 pm


      Is Leclaire made of glass or what? He just can’t buy a break, unless it’s a break of a bone it seems. Very talented kid, but I have a feeling he won’t be around much longer in the NHL…

  3. Bulletts Dec 19 20108:36 pm


    seems so eh Dan, worse then Gaborik this kid, that’s hard to beat…lol…I agree, he seems destine to hurt? himself out of the league, it’s not like he can’t play, he’s just injury prone and I don’t think anybody wants to risk it on him anymore, how much of a chance do you give a guy ya know……I don’t like how much credit you’re giving Elliott Mika, he’s their true number one by default, not design, he’s faltered as of late, and crash in some of the most important games they had last year, he’s got a shot at being a number one, but he’s not a “true” number one, why else is everyone anointing Lehner the next guy around here hmmm…..Elliott’s really good at times, but melts during others, it’s kind of frustrating to watch sometimes…..

    1. Dan Rakusan Dec 19 201010:43 pm


      With all due respect, I don’t think you can pin Ottawa’s problems on goaltending alone… Lehner, Leclaire, Elliot – doesn’t really matter. Guys on defence have to step up to fill the void left by Volchenkov. Believe me, I saw this coming. A-Train was the one guy on the back end that made people cringe at the blue line. Phillips is now being villified because most people though of that pairing as a truly mutual assistance kind of tandem. It was more to do with Volchenkov setting up hits while Phillips batted clean-up if someone got through.

      Goaltending isn’t the (only) problem in Ottawa… That’s basically my point.

      1. Mika Oehling Dec 20 201010:16 am


        You’re right, Dan, one of the major problems with Ottawa has also been their lack of defense. They focused more on keeping forwards on this team than signing on big guys on the back end, hence the loss of Volchenkov who cried all the way to the bank with a stellar contract from New Jersey. It’s happened in the past too, as we all know too well, with Chara taking off for Boston and Ottawa holding onto Redden- who has since been moved down to the AHL. This is definitely a problem upstairs- management.

  4. bulletts Dec 20 20108:46 am


    I couldn’t agree more, I said it on one of my first comments I made on here, I worried the D was too soft and mushy with too many of the same type of guys on the back end….there isn’t anyone to fear back there at all, even Carkner as much as he can whoop some ass, doesn’t through too many bone crunching hits…..all that to say I wasn’t blaming anything on just the goaltending, just think Elliott was getting credited for being number one when really he isn’t that, and at the moment he’s showing why…..all in all its been really disappointing and looks like they’re going to be out of the playoff’s unless they can put some type of miracle stretch together very soon, it sucks…

    1. Mika Oehling Dec 20 201010:14 am


      Last season was the real proof that Elliott is number one for this team, as he was named top player for several months and was even one of the NHL stars. Elliott is prone to streaks- he gets really hot for awhile and then he disappears. In his defense, he wasn’t ready for that game against Colorado where he did look shaky. Maybe he is the de facto number one for lack of competition, but it should be accepted that he’s their guy and if you give him time and confidence to build on, he’s incredible.

  5. Bulletts Dec 20 20108:05 pm


    Ok I’ll give you the “last season” thing, he flat out won the job, but he was smashed in the playoff’s and Leclaire fed off that and took at least some of the momentum back coming into this year….I think Leclaire’s played better this season personally, Elliott’s been solid as well I won’t deny that, but I also think if Leclaire, the most injury prone athlete I’ve ever seen, had been able to stay healthy, he was running with the job for sure, no doubt at all…..

    1. Mika Oehling Dec 21 201010:40 am


      Leclaire’s not a bad goaltender and he’s not a bad person, but you simply can’t rely on someone who’s that accident-prone. It’s no wonder that he gets the least goal support, averaging 1.2 goals per game from his team, who probably feel as fragile as he does when he gets in net. Leclaire is like that really nice boyfriend who can never make it to anything- Elliott rises to the occasion when called upon, and guess what? That makes him husband material. It’s time for Ottawa to commit to him.

  6. bulletts Dec 21 20101:49 pm


    well we all know how most marriages end right?…..we should have this conversation again by the three quarter mark and see if you’re not singing a different tune by then….you mean to tell me you’re willing to bet the farm on this guy, that there isn’t anyone else out there that you would rather see every night….no way, you mean to tell me you believe Elliotts the franchise tender, there is no way you can honestly think that, is there? ……..did they spike the eggnog in the office this morning or something…..tell me what happens most times in life, you ditch the really nice guy for some @#$! head because the @#$! head catches you’re eye and excites you in ways the nice guy can’t, and what happens, you sit there kicking yourself ’cause nice guy left and all you can do is sit there thinking about what could of been, but now he’s left, gone forever, enjoying it all with someone other then you, and you get stuck with the @#&! head becaue he was so great in the begining but ends up fooling you in the end…….I say they dump them both, start fresh and get this %$#@ together…..there comes a time when the Inevitable happens, and its happening right now……..BOOM!, its over……

  7. Mika Oehling Dec 21 20102:12 pm


    Robin Lehner and Mike Brodeur are clearly the future of this franchise, so there is no betting the farm on Elliott. But until those two are ready, someone needs to be given the number one job- we can’t exactly write this season off, we’re nowhere near 82 games yet. So I say sign on Elliott for number one, at least for this season, and give him time to build himself up and gain some confidence. Let Leclaire have the back up post for what it’s worth and if possible, move him.

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