Right, where do we even start here? The Ottawa Senators produced a comeback for the ages as they punished the Boston Bruins in game two.
If it was a football game it would be a game of two halves. The Ottawa Senators were turgid and sluggish during the first two periods. Not able to clear their own zone when needed and lacking any sort of deft touch in front of the net. It is not too far to say that the opening two periods for the Sens were abysmal.
On the face of things, it was a tight affair, and to a large extent it was. A penalty a piece, ten shots a piece, 18-16 in hits and 5-6 in faceoffs. All this is well and good but the cracks were showing, Boston could’ve quite easily had themselves a lead. Ottawa had resorted to a style of play that infuriated their fans during the regular season. The period was very much a tentative one, both teams feeling each other out, not willing to make the first move.
Clearing the puck out of the zone was a constant pain, Pagaeu with a brutal giveaway early in the first almost leading to a goal.
Ah, the second period, where the wheels were seemingly falling off the Ottawa Senators playoff campaign. Drew Stafford scoring in the tenth minute of the frame. The Sens wouldn’t have to wait too long in order to respond. Gifted a penalty thanks to Vatrano’s trip.
This is where the magic happened for a man who was due some luck. A wonderful move on the powerplay, from the left side of the net, setting up a triangle, Brassard passing it to Ryan behind the net who sent it to the slot-based MacArthur. A sensational finish past the inform Rask as the Canadian Tire Centre lost its’ mind. To have comeback from such a horrific injury and show such passion when it was needed speaks volumes about his love for the organisation.
To be the brightest moment of a horrid second period. Schaller would put the Bruins ahead on a shorthanded goal, the league’s best powerplay seeking revenge for MacArthur’s effort. Craig Anderson with a major mishap in front of his own net, an easy goal resulting. Then came the opening of the floodgates, having torn the Sens powerplay apart they wanted to test their own. 48 seconds into the Chris Wideman penalty for tripping, Patrice Bergeron with a tasty finish to seemingly make the series 2-0. Leaving the Ottawa Senators with it all to do.
The Bruins would outshoot the Sens 13-8 during this car-crash of a period.
Like all good movies the third instalment is usually the best, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade springs to mind. Quite poignant in fact as Erik Karlsson had bitten Brassard’s head off earlier as if to shout “Junior!”. Karlsson clearly aggrieved with the former Ranger’s efforts to track back.
It took until the sixth minute to begin the resurgence, Chris Wideman netting of a pass from Dion Phaneuf, the Ottawa Senators fans started to believe that they could mount a comeback. An unlikely one perhaps given the Sens inadequacies in front of the net, regardless of the goaltender.
It was to be the eighth minute that the real magic began and friendships restored. Erik Karlsson, goes west to east on a play, toying with the Bruins defensemen. He looks to shoot, instead somehow sees Derick Brassard open by the right faceoff circle. Karlsson passes and Brassard buries the finish, the Canadian Tire Centre is sent into jubilation.
3-3 and the Sens thought the impossible were possible, especially when Zdeno Chara dumped the puck over the glass, a rare gift of a penalty from the giant veteran.
The Senators outshot Boston 8-6 in a miraculous third.
The penalty would be the turning point of the game and could be pivotal in the series. Although the winning goal wouldn’t come on the powerplay, the Bruins couldn’t escape their own zone. Dion Phaneuf receiving the puck to the left on the blue-line. He then rifled a shot off past Tukka Rask, the celebrations ensued in Kanata.
Boston didn’t register a single shot in overtime as the Sens notched three.
A complete mind-bending game, emotions went from purely loathing the Sens and the way they played, to loving the spirit of a resurgent underdog who found a way.
Ottawa needed this win, to go 0-2 after a home-stand can prove fatal for a playoff team and in most cases it does. This is how the Ottawa Senators win, as a team, playing for each other with the crowd behind them. They are not the most attractive team in the NHL, they are industrious and work their skates off, but boy is that fascinating to watch.
Boston will come out hard in TD Garden on Tuesday and will be eager to put that one behind them. There’s no losing points in overtime now, it’s all about winning and the Sens finally got one on the board.
GO SENS GO.