Well that was a heck of a thing, eh?
After such a strong stretch of play, the Ottawa Senators finally exuded some humanism and reverted to their old Jekyll and Hydey-selves as two goals, in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers, were the direct effect of defensive giveaways.
Both Chris Phillips and Erik Karlsson made two different brutal defensive zone passes, that both hit tape on Rangers forwards Derek Stepan and Matt Zuccarello’s sticks to basically ice the game.
Although the shots were close to even at 31-30 for the RABHA, after taking a 1-0 lead on a point blast from Methot, the Sens seem to get sleepy and fell into ‘watch-and-learn’ hockey and racked up 5 different penalties throughout the game.
Outside of that, the RABHA couldn’t seem to get too many bounces, pumped mostly perimeter shots and looked like they were stuck in the offensive blocks.
Craig Anderson, who let in a few mediocre jokers, spoke to that same line of thinking in a post-game interview.
“We seemed to come out of the gate pretty good, come out with the lead, and then we got put on our heels a little bit,” Anderson said. “It’s one of those things where, I’m not sure what it is, but you’ve got to find a way to play. It doesn’t matter what time the game is, 2 o’clock, 5 o’clock, 7 o’clock; the puck drops, the puck drops. You’ve got to have that intensity right from the get-go.”
Everyone would love to explain away this game. Yes – the Sens have been a terrible afternoon team all season long, but when you’re in the NHL, giving an ‘afternoon excuse’ is not good enough.
Moving forward, if the Sens are going to be a playoff team, they need to put this errant loss behind them and move forward.
The Rangers have been a hard-charging team as of late, but the RABHA are in tough in the East, as they are basically surrounded with teams on hot streaks who are fighting for the same playoff scraps.
Right now, Ottawa is neck-and-neck with some of the stronger teams of the league, and although they are only one point back of the final wildcard spot, there is no room for error. Here’s a dot matrix snapshot of the standings:
|6||NEW JERSEY||M||50||20||19||11||51||20||115||123||-8||10-6-6||10-13-5||0-8||4-3-3||LOST 1|
On the upshot, it was only one game – but with the final 30 some games of the season approaching, the Sens need to re-start the ticker tape point parade if they want to secure a postseason spot.
As good as Karlsson is, he can’t make passes like that if the Sens are going to be a strong postseason team.
Phillips should know better than to make a blind backpass at centre ice.
These are basic hockey tenets but at times, the RABHA seem to get itchy in their own skin and become their own worst enemies.
Playing against Talbot (Lundqvist’s backup), the Sens had a huge chance to gain some more ground, but instead, they fell apart and let the Rangers capitalize on their mistakes.
With a few days rest, Ottawa needs to re-focus, re-direct and regroup as they hit the road to take on their wildcard rivals, the Washington Capitals, at 7:00 PM EST on Tuesday.