Game Summary - Game 38: Coyotes vs. Senators - Game Pre-Cap

by Chet Sellers

Folks, we’re going to try something a little different this weekend. It’s Saturday, which means the Phoenix Coyotes are in town to face your Ottawa Senators. You might think, given that the Senators are coming off two disappointing losses to the Devils and the Panthers, and given that the Senators have been... what’s the word I’m looking for here... ah yes, terrible against the Western Conference this season, that no reasonable person would have much interest in watching this game.

But you’d be wrong! In fact, we RBM writers are all going to be at the game, drinking beers until we each run out of $20 bills! And after we’ve each had our one beer, we expect to be in no condition to write the kind of insightful, even-handed game recap you’ve come to demand from us. So instead, we’re going to write that recap before the game! What’s going to happen this afternoon, you ask? Let’s find out!

First Period

Hmm, not sure about the way Paul MacLean has mixed up these lines! Looks like he's shuffling the deck in an effort to spark a quick start for the Senators. Let's see if it works.

But before we get to the game, how does the crowd look tonight? Luckily every fan in attendance has posted a picture of the empty stands on Twitter. Most of the pictures are accompanied with the line, "I didn't know the game was being played in Phoenix!?" The team assures fans that just like Kyle Turris, the crowd will eventually fill out.

Two tickets to the gunshow...were not purchased by Sens fans.
Sure enough, the Senators come out flat against the Coyotes and quickly find themselves down, 2-0 Coyotes. Predictably, the finger-pointing then begins among the fans. "The other goalie should have started," several of them say, before others jump in to defend today's starter as "the team's true #1." Clearer heads prevail when everyone agrees that it's unfair to hang both goals on the Ottawa netminder given the defensive breakdown in front of him for both.

Whoa, look at what Chris Neil just did! Will it fire this team up? We've all got a strong opinion about that!

Second Period

The Senators look like they're on the verge of getting something going, but can't seem to stay out of the box. It's only halfway through the period that the Senators finally get a break, with Cory Conacher drawing a roughing call after being punched in the face after the whistle.

Boy, it sure does seem like Turris, MacArthur, Ryan, and Karlsson have shouldered the load when it comes to scoring this year, doesn't it? Well don't look now, but one of them just scored again, on the power play! And how about that helper!

Whoa, looks like Jared Cowen got away with that hit.

After watching the game quietly for a while, Senators fans all snap to attention and agree vigorously with one another that Oliver Ekman-Larsson is nowhere near as good as Erik Karlsson. Then they silently return to watching Ekman-Larsson.

Hey, you just see that move Spezza did? That was a nice dangle, but was it leadership? Sens fans grumble something about Daniel Alfredsson while watching the game through the cracks of their fingers.

Late in the period, the Senators tie it up! Where has this team been all game? Are the "pesky" Senators back? And do we all still love/hate that term, or what? Fans reassure themselves that the team is better off without Alfie.

Someone celebrates somewhat similarly to this

Third Period

We've seen a lot of back and forth play here in the third; the Senators look like the better team for long stretches, but haven't been able to put anything in the net no matter how many times Senators fans yell "SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!" A few advanced stats nerds on Twitter attempt to show no correlation between the crowd yelling shoot and actual shots taking place.

As the clock starts to tick down, the chance of a fluke Coyotes goal deciding this one seems increasingly likely.

Whoa, quite the save there! This goalie is really keeping the Senators in the game after some early struggles. "I told you so," says everybody.

And then, late in the third, the game-winner. As is often the case, it's not a highlight-reel goal, but instead a putback off a rebound into a scrum in front of the net. It's the kind of goal that's equal parts luck and hard work, and this afternoon, one of these teams scored it. And oh man, is this home crowd reacting. That's your final!

Lessons Learned

We've known all year that these Senators are an inconsistent team, and today was no exception. It's hard to believe both how good and how bad this team has looked over the course of the past week, and with Pittsburgh in town on Monday, there's no guarantee that the version of the Senators we saw today will show up. One thing's for sure, though: with playoffs still technically in the picture, this team is going to need a string of good games to climb back in the race, and that's one thing they definitely haven't shown they can do so far.

Will we look back on today's game as the one where the true 2013-14 Senators emerged? There's only one way to find out - see you Monday!
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