The startling last minute comeback to tie and then win the game against Columbus on Saturday night was electrifying and uprecedented to say the least. But in the long run, was it a good thing for the team and its learning curve going forward?
Yes, the two points was just what the Senators needed, and a win is a win. The method is also the madness in the victory. The Senators played about 59 minutes of very mediocre hockey and used a one minute burst to pull off a win for the ages. In fact, according to Elias Sports Bureau, who specialize in all thing statistical, it was only the 4th time in the last 15 years that an NHL team trailing entering the last minute of a game actually won the game in regulation. It happens about once every 4 years around the league. The fortitude the Sens club showed in not giving up until the end was admirable and hopefully gives the team some confidence going forward.
There is another side to the way they came out victorious. The win is great, but do you really want the young, impresionable culture of the franchise to be swayed by this win? Its not as though a comeback like this one happens all the time, and based on the way the Senators have played through the first two periods of most games in this young season, it seems as though they are relying on a good third period to make up for it. That is a dangerous way to play the game and it will result in failure more often than not.
For example, take a rookie who is a member of a Stanley Cup winner. Ten years later, almost to a man they will tell you they thought after that first season that they would get there every year and that it was relatively easy. They didn’t appreciate the hard work that went into it and just thought that was the norm for them to get to the finals. Only much later, after the fact, do they realize how special it really was.
While I certainnly don’t equate Saturday’s win over Columbus with winning a Stanley Cup, there are some paralells. Senatorss fans can only hope the leadership of the team, from coach MacLean to captian Alfredsson to star Spezza make sure the young players know that this is the exception rather than the rule, and that they need to be better out of the gate every night. Columbus was a winless team playing their second night in a row, and they should have been easy pickings for a rested Ottawa team.
The Senators have four very winable games this week and could easily finish the week at or above the .500 mark. They could lose 3 or 4 and make the comeback win and the modest two game winning streak nothing but a memory. With Carolina, Florida, NY Rangers and then the Maple Leafs on the menu, this is an important week for the Senators hopes this season. This will go a long way to determining if they will compete for a playoff spot, or fall into the depths of the conference and compete in the Nail Yakupov sweepstakes.