It was a second match up in as many days for Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson, but this time, it wasn’t a friendly. Ottawa’s 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins was fast-paced and salty, with a good measure of physicality which shows that we are very clearly in the second half of the season. The break is over and done with, and as Ottawa looks ahead to the last 30 games of the season, they’re going to do everything they possibly can to hold onto their playoff spot and make a real run at it.
Taking this last half of the season sprint very seriously is Jason Spezza, who’s upped the physical aspect of his game and is making sure his presence is felt. Maybe the black eye has given him a little mean streak and it couldn’t come at a better time. There’s no more “oh, it’s just October” or “oh, it’s just November”. The NHL season is a long one, but it’s go time now and Ottawa has already gone above and beyond what anyone expected of them in September.
After the fun-loving nature of the All-Star Game, NHL level hockey kind of shocks the system, for the fans, players and refs, it seems. The players were looking a little logy at times and there was more falling than usual. Timing was a key issue, as shots were just fanned on at the last minute and a few shots on net just whispered shy. They more than made up what they lacked in accuracy with what they did in fighting. Two heavy matches within the first period saw Neil take on Thornton and Konopka take on McQuaid and sportscasters waging bets on Carkner and Lucic to follow.
The second period was real hockey. Both teams played their best hockey on the night in this period, with lots of speed and good rushes. Turris and Karlsson scored for Ottawa while Lucic potted on for Boston to make the score 3-2 at the buzzer. The third period went from bad to worse as Ottawa got called for minors and Seidenberg scored a weird one from centre ice which took a funny bounce past Craig Anderson. Marchand also scored off a deflection off Karlsson’s leg on the power play in the same period.
Ottawa didn’t get any power play time of their own in this game. Which is funny, because with all the ref controversy hanging over Ottawa’ s head from their Western Conference road trip, surely, there’s no bad reputation around one of the most heavily penalized team in the NHL? One of two strange things happened; the refs believed in the phony baloney surrounding the team during that trip or the Boston Bruins played hockey like an angelic choir group. I’m taking the former.
Before the third period, this was anyone’s game. Neither team had a lock on it until the bad calls and weird bounces took the wind out of Ottawa’s sails. The refs made fair calls against Ottawa; they didn’t return the favour when it came to making the exact same calls against Boston. But Ottawa can’t afford to get frustrated; they’ve come too far to blow it now.
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.