The Ottawa Senators may see it as somewhat of an honour, but they would have wished that it came under the circumstances of a win, or at least a loss in a much tighter game. Goaltender Andrew Hammond and the rest of the Sens squad could only watch helplessly as Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin scored the 500th goal of his career. The game was already out of reach at that points, as Ottawa was trailing 5-1. The team played the third period trying to limit the deficit, but the game’s story had already been written.
Now, the team travels to California to have their annual road trip there. The players and coaches will use the loss against Washington as motivation to have to begin strong, more consistent second half of the season. They will look for inspiration from last year, when they went on their California road trip in February. They would win all three of their games, and little did they know, it would be the beginning of a playoff run for the ages.
Senators fans will likely never forget the team’s Cinderella run. Led by the fairy god mother played by goaltender Andrew Hammond, Ottawa went on a 14-0-1 run with him in net starting mid-February. Although this year’s California road trip comes more than a month earlier, a winning record over those three games could instill a similar amount of faith the players have in themselves to climb into a playoff spot again.
Out of the three teams, only Los Angeles currently holds a playoff spot, with Anaheim and San Jose placing fourth and fifth respectively in the Western Conference’s weaker division. They’ve already beaten the Kings and Sharks each once at home this season, Ottawa will not be intimidated.
They will have to be careful, however, to prevent their opponents from grabbing momentum early on. According to war-on-ice.com, the Senators are operating on a 47.1% corsi rating at even strength this season. However, during the two games they’ve had against LA and SJ, that rating is much lower at 42.3%. The Senators will need to focus on dictating the play and to keep the opposition’s offense on the outside.