You get the feeling that the Ottawa Senators are going to keep on coming up short. They are one of the few teams that rode the puck line in both road games. Ottawa even went up 1-0 in Games 1 through 3. That happened again in Game 3 and again, but Montreal came back. This time it was a little more dramatic and unexpected.
What happened could be best described as something out of a nightmare. However, when you do not get that insurance goal, you run the risk of losing the lead eventually.
Ottawa Blows It Again
In some ways like the Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa is finding more and more painful ways to lose. It is getting like that scene from “Ghostbusters” where the ghost asks them to choose their method of destruction. Apparently the Senators chose Dale Weise. It could not have been Max Pacioretty or P.K. Subban. It had to be Weise.
The first goal was probably expected for most in Canada’s capital. If they could have just survived another six or seven minutes, the series would have been 2-1 and Ottawa would have gained a good bit of confidence. That was not going to happen, however. Both teams played for overtime to a point, though Montreal had the better chances down the stretch.
Once overtime came, you had the feeling this was going to end poorly for the team with the senator on its crest. It was bad enough it happened once but then Weise scored one more time to send Ottawa to the brink of elimination.
— Stephen Demone (@s_demone10) April 20, 2015
Aside from the Glenn Healy comic relief about the Cameron Diaz trade for Weise, the weird bottom line is that he tends to come up big in these moments that are usually reserved for say Pacioretty or Subban. It is also because Ottawa allowed Montreal to hang around much like they have done throughout this series. The Senators have had countless chances to go up two goals in a game and have not been able to do so.
Safe is Death
Here is that not-so-beautiful footage again for the Senators.
It was not like Montreal was much better in Game 3 or the series for that matter. However, even they have converted just a little better on golden chances. In a sense, this series has the feeling of we may have to give it to you as opposed to earning it. A case can be made that the Canadiens have been more lucky than good and the Senators have been a little worse.
Watching how Erik Karlsson has played could be considered troublesome. Everyone is guilty of sitting with a lead in this series like the goaltending is going to miraculously save them when the times arise. The reality is that is not how it works in the playoffs anymore. Teams have to play to the whistle. We have seen that too much in the last couple seasons where a lot more third period leads have evaporated in the playoffs.
Part of it does have to do with Carey Price to be fair. Price has a tendency to effectively control play and Montreal does ice the puck among the league leaders so that can disrupt game flow quickly. When a team has momentum but it gets killed constantly, it is tougher to sustain it. Montreal has been able to stay the course then ultimately find ways to win games.
So what does Game 4 mean for possibilities?
It does open the door for a little history and this would be ugly for Ottawa.
@travisyost Red Wings had a -4 series goal differential when the Ducks swept them in 2003.
— Ryan Stimson (@RK_Stimp) April 20, 2015
Alas, that would not surprise me. This series has been close all the way through and really other than that goofy period in Game 1, it has been relatively managed in a sense.
What Would A Sweep Mean For Ottawa
It would be a heartbreaking end to what was a great run. Andrew Hammond and Ottawa had to go 20-3-3 over a 26 game stretch just to clinch a playoff spot and we joked that the luck was on the last legs but even few people expected it to go quite like this. The Senators are a young team and a sweep would definitely humble them and maybe spur them to make more bold moves in the offseason.
In the end, a sweep may be a good thing. It would be great to see Ottawa extend this series given some of their bad puck luck, but they have brought a good deal of that upon themselves. Game 4 on Wednesday night will be interesting. Can Ottawa stake themselves to a two-goal lead? Maybe playing a little more reckless cannot hurt now? There is nothing else left to lose, really.