If you know an Ottawa Senators fan, give them a hug.
They probably need it.
Everyone knew this was going to be a tough season for them. They are a ridiculously young team that has been gutted of most of its star power over the past two years as a bumbling ownership attempts to rebuild the organization into something relevant. The immediate future is not particularly bright. The long-term future may not be all that bright, either.
After a fairly decent start to the season that has actually had a couple of bright spots (specifically the play of Thomas Chabot, as well as rookie Brady Tkachuk before his injury) the Senators we expected to see this season finally showed up over the past 48 hours.
On Saturday, they were absolutely run out of the building in Buffalo during a 9-2 loss.
Then they had to come back 24 hours later and face the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the best teams in the NHL. Not exactly a great matchup.
Surprisingly, the Senators found themselves in a position where they were less than a minute away from coming away with what would have been an extremely impressive win. The kind of win that might have been a big confidence boost for a young team still finding its way. At the very least, it would have been a sensational way to rebound after an embarrassing loss on Saturday and something the home fans could have been happy about.
Then things completely went off the rails in what would eventually turn into a stunning and brutal 4-3 overtime loss.
With less than two minutes to play in regulation and the Senators clinging to a 3-2 lead, veteran forward Mikkel Boedker took a slashing penalty that sent the Lightning to the power play.
With just under 30 seconds to play the Senators’ penalty kill had an opportunity to get the puck out of the zone and perhaps end the game when this happened…
Oh. Oh no. Oh my gosh no. What are you doing?!
First, let’s give some credit to Ryan McDonagh there for forcing that turnover because that was an incredible play. But Ottawa … what are you doing? Specifically the two forwards, and especially Magnus Paajarvi, for completely blowing the zone there. What. Are. You. Doing?!
I get that it is tempting to go for the empty net goal, but you do not need it. You are on the penalty kill. There is no icing. All you need is a clear and the game is over. All you need to do is not go flying out of the zone before your team has possession of the puck and not leave the lone defender back and your goalie by themselves against that power play unit.
That Brayden Point goal sent the game to overtime.
Overtime was only 14 seconds with Yanni Gourde, fresh off signing a brand new long-term contract this week, scoring the game-winning goal for the Lightning.
It took less than a minute of clock time for an impressive 3-2 win to turn into a 4-3 loss.
The NHL’s situation room reviewed the play for potential goaltender interference but determined that Point’s contact with Senators goalie Craig Anderson was incidental contact outside of the crease, allowing the goal to stand.
Great two points for the Lightning.
Absolutely miserable way for the Senators to lose to wrap up a completely forgettable weekend.