The Ottawa Senators narrowly missed a comeback in last night’s game against the Calgary Flames, rallying for two goals in the third period, but not getting a third chance as they fell 3-2. While they had a spirited rally in the third, it just came too late and the entire arena could feel it in the dying seconds of the game. It was a sell out crowd on the night, with pockets of very vocal Calgary fans, who cheered as if the Senators had been blown out of the water- which they clearly had not.
But why did the rally come so late? The first period was uninspired hockey on both sides, as the teams played a rather lacklustre and careful game. The second period was all Flames, as Moss picked up two goals and Kotalik picked up the other. The third period saw some good pressure from the Senators with Foligno and Michalek both picking up nice goals. But despite having a lot of chances on power plays, Ottawa couldn’t capitalize.
Not that they didn’t have to turn to their penalty kill on the night- roughing penalties all around for the team caused some long power plays to be exchanged between the two teams with the surprise of the night going to Daniel Alfredsson for a double minor for roughing on Curtis Glencross in the third. It’s strange to see Alfie take a roughing penalty on anyone, period, but he was clearly pushed to his limit on the night. Everyone was taken by surprise. Probably Alfie himself was taken by surprise. But it was good to see that the Captain still has fire in him, although we all prefer to see that fire manifest itself in a slapshot into the back of the net.
But who could blame the team for feeling the frustration? Near misses, bad luck, media scrutiny and Clouston Watch has caused an unstable environment for the Ottawa Senators and it was bound to show itself. The game was close enough that it was still there for the taking and Ottawa once again came up short, showing lots of rally and no finish. It’s an old refrain and it’s getting to be well known in Ottawa. So nobody can blame the usually refrained Captain from getting a little ruffled.
The high points for Ottawa on the night were the goalscorers, Foligno and Michalek, who both put in a solid effort and good pressure on the night. Chris Kelly has also been showing off some moves, cruising into lanes and doing little spins that most of didn’t know that he could do and continuing to crash the net like a good forward should. Shannon has also been showing some tenacity and speed on the ice and Phillips has been throwing his weight around, showing what a veteran defenseman can do.
The low points on the night were Filip Kuba and Erik Karlsson. Filip Kuba, usually a smart and aware player on the ice, has been anything but in the last few games, making bad decisions and costly turnovers. Erik Karlsson, also a smart player, is often capable of making bad rookie mistakes, but the fact is, he looks like he’s simply not interested in defending. His bread and butter of late has been goalscoring, as he’s second only to Alfredsson on points for the team, and there’s no glory with good defensive moves. It wasn’t sharp defense that got him voted into the All Star game to represent the Senators. But his main job is defense and he’s got to start looking more interested in doing his job.
As Ottawa moves forward to face Washington for a Sunday afternoon matinee, they’re going to have to revisit their strategy. They can’t sit back in the first few periods- they will have to jump right out of the gate against the Caps and force them to play catch up. Otherwise, it will be game over before it even begins.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
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.