The Ottawa Senators played a nothing game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, going down 5-0 in a great game for James Reimer who had a career high 49 saves and a shut out. He deserved this one, as Reimer stopped everything in sight, tracking everything that came in his direction and as Toronto piled it on. Their star players, Kessel, Phaneuf and Lupul all came out to play. Ottawa’s star players, for their part, remained silent and frustrated and couldn’t even get a fight on the board.
The beginning of the game was promising for the two teams, as they both came out strong and two early power play opportunities came along for Ottawa. But Ottawa squandered both opportunities, as they had trouble managing the puck and lobbed off one pass too many, spoiling their chances at getting a clear shot on net. But although their offensive power was lost, their defense was even worse. Ottawa looked disorganized and left great big gaps open in their end. Grabovski had a golden chance in front of the net with nobody in sight and only Anderson foiled his shot on goal.
Indeed, if it wasn’t for Anderson, Ottawa would have no defense. While it may seem strange to say that the goaltender was sharp in a 5-0 loss, Anderson remains the most consistent player for the Senators, playing a mostly calm game. But Anderson is an island right now, getting little support from his D-men and even less from the offense.
Toronto was all over Ottawa like white on rice. They didn’t give any of the Senators time or space and often left Ottawa scrambling in the neutral zone. The amount of panic giveaways and blind passes was just disgraceful. Since the high of the All-Star break, Ottawa has had trouble getting goals and their stars have floundered a bit. The last stretch of the season is a tough one and Ottawa needs to prove that they are worthy of their current playoff spot, a spot hard-won over the past few months through sheer hard work and a solid team.
The first half of the season may have been easier for Ottawa because everyone had written them off, even their own fans. There was a feeling that this was a throwaway year, a rebuilding year where not much would happen. Ottawa surprised everyone with their energy and hard work, but there are no surprises to be had at this point of the season. All of the other teams in the league now have the book on Ottawa and their game style and they’re coming out ready for them. Ottawa doesn’t need new tricks; it needs to get back to its old ones.
A final word on the Battle of Ontario tonight and that’s to congratulate the organization for the Do it for Daron night at Scotiabank Place. A worthy cause to bring awareness to youth mental health issues and a startling reminder to the public that depression can affect anyone, even the winners. Olympian medalist Clara Hughes came out to support the event and talk about her own experience, and that was a real class act. It’s hard for any of us to believe that someone who is accomplished, confident and talented with a brilliant smile could be hiding such inner pain. It just goes to show you that it can affect anyone. The fact that the discussion is now open, it can only get better.
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.