Last night, the Senators became first team in NHL history to lose with a 3-goal lead in the final 5 minutes of a game. (Via @EliasSports)
— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) March 16, 2014
That pretty much says it all, but you could also call it the Meltdown in Montreal.
The Ottawa Senators’ night and season in 140 characters or less, courtesy a pretty smart hockey journalist. You can analyze the game last night in Montreal 50 ways from Sunday, but the bottom line is, there is absolutely no excuse for giving up a 3 goal lead with less than 4 minutes left. It is unacceptable at any time, but when 2 points is more vital than food and water, it is absolutely unfathomable.
What I saw from the team last night might be a fireable offense for the coaching staff. That is, if Paul MacLean wasn’t in the first year of a multi-year extension and the Senators were not such a “thrifty” club.
What I saw from the Senators last night was despair and a meltdown that comes from the top down. Composure was lost and MacLean didn’t have any answer. And it is not like the Senators played a great 55 minutes leading up to the meltdown. Getting outshot 17-4 in the first 20 minutes after having 4 days of preparation is absolutely unacceptable for any team, let alone one where the team is in danger of losing whatever playoff hopes they had left. That was a team that wasn’t ready to play, and the fact that they eventually took a 4-1 lead is pretty remarkable.
Canadian Tire Centre might not be the friendly confines after such a meltdown, as it was the final nail in the coffin, and to do so in such dramatic fashion is going to have even the die-hardiest Senators fans bound to turn on the team.
You can blame the officials or point the finger any direction you want, but MacLean last night looked like Michel Therrien in last season’s playoffs. He was a deer in the headlights and was looking for answers. There weren’t any. The players have to shoulder their share of the blame, because there were chances to increase the lead in the moments prior to the Montreal comeback starting. But the bottom line is, in a 4 minute span the Senators spiralled out of control, and the coach(es) allowed it to happen.
They didn’t just let their playoff hopes fade away by running out of time. That might have been tough to take, but given the season so far not unexpected. Instead, they took a 100 mega-tonne nuclear bomb and obliterated those playoff hopes in a span of 4 minutes.
And that, in a word is Unacceptable.