Since early November, the Sens haven’t been able to get on any kind of positive roll – but last night in Buffalo, even though they lost a heartbreaking 10-round shootout, the Red-and-Black-Heart-Attack (RABHA) gained their fourth point in three games.
Coming up against one of their most revered enemies, the Sens couldn’t put much past Ryan Miller, save for an early breakaway roof/gitch-stripping shot from Michalek off a honey-badger-esque feed from Cory Conacher.
Shots were even at 36, but the Sabres came out hungry in the second period, outshot Ottawa 18-9, and capitalized on a flub by Lehner and tied the game.
But beyond all of the obvious ‘non-victory’ jibber jabber, the Sens have been playing more and more like the team that we all know and love.
They’ve been outshooting their opponents. They’ve been getting some clutch saves. They’ve been getting back to the heart of peskiness and re-starting the ticker tape point parade.
One thing that really annoys me about being a Sens fan is a trait that runs rampant within its fan base; expectancy.
I can’t count how many times in the last while I’ve heard or read something from the local media (i.e. Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Team 1200 or Silversevens fans) that uses the phrase “they should beat this team tonight”.
Here’s my response: Welcome to the NHL where, on any given team, you have some of the best hockey players in the world who can change the course of a game in a split second – and no game (no matter what the point spread or predictions are) is ever a safe bet.
That’s what makes hockey FUN to watch. It’s never predictable. Whether or not a team has 4 wins or 20 wins, the outcome of any given game is completely in the balance because in such a fast-paced sport, the luck of a team can change in an instant.
As we’ve seen so far, stat sheet victories amount to a hot cup of jack squat in the world of hockey. In one goalie mistake, one errant puck bounce, or one cheap deflection, a dominated game can swing in the other direction.
That’s what is so magical about hockey; the outcome of a game is not decided by a bunch of sweaty, cigar-smoking, bald business men in a room somewhere. It’s decided on the ice and every minute counts.
The Sens are not a ‘safe-victory’ team. They have NEVER been a safe-victory team. They are an underdog, small market team. They need to get greasy wins.
Come on, Sens fans – need I remind you that they’ve made it to a shootout for three games in a row? This means that they’ve played through three five-minute overtimes without getting scored on (and two of those were on back-to-back game nights). Every point in the NHL counts down the stretch and as Brad Pitt’s version of Billy Beane says in Moneyball, ‘we are the runt of the litter’.
We are the last dog at the bowl – but if we get points, we have a shot.
They’re getting better. I like our chances. But above all, I like points.
If we have a shot at getting to the playoffs, we need to play Moneyball hockey – and that’s what the RABHA are doing now. Are four points in three games not way better than zero? Are you really going to stand there and whine and say ‘No – I will only have accepted three victories and six points’? Grow up.
We need to take what we get, and right now, with the structure and core of this team still getting stronger but not fully actualized, I’ll take a three game point streak.
The 12-14-6 RABHA roll on to play their second of a back-to-back series against Buffalo in Ottawa on Thursday night at 7:30 EST.