The Sens lost this game in the first period.
They terrorized the Leafs for the first 20 minutes of the March 22 5-4 loss, but left the first period up by only one goal. It should have been three.
If you were at the game, as I was, you would have heard a steady increase in the instances of "motivational mumblings" as the game wore on. You know, those things that people say in the crowd that are said loudly, but no one is really meant to hear.
"C'mon Fisher - get 'er done"
"Awwwww Redden, you're garbage! Hit the guy!"
"Alfie, you're the man - put the puck in the net"
And I mumbled the following:
"Murder him! When you get the chance, smash his face in!"
These sayings are a measurement of crowd frustration. As the team begins to suck, people say these things more.
Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley, and Daniel "Boooooo...yaayyyyyy..ooo....yyyyyy" Alfredsson played well together throughout the game. The real story is, however, the second line.
Chris Neil, Mike Fisher, and Cory Stillman took an entirely different approach to scoring goals, and it seemed to work for most of the night. I don't think the team missed Randy Robitaille in the least.
Reading my own comments here, offence doesn't seem to be the problem. Defence was the problem. The huge, gaping, undeniable problem that pulled the Senators into a deep chasm of self-loathing and "what-if" statements.
As in, what if Ottawa hadn't surrendered that goal late in the second period? What if Spezza had netted one of his many chances? What if the team didn't take that stupid additional penalty?
So much could be said about this game as it summarizes the Senators searching for the meaning of their season at this point. Lack of discipline, lack of leadership, lack of direction.
There is one question that can be answered tonight however:
Are the Sens ready for the playoffs? Not by a long shot.