Monday, 4 November 2013

The loser point: ramifications for the Sens


For the second game in a row, the Senators have suffered a shootout loss. Our losing streak has been extended to five games, a number which could easily slide into utter-panic territory given the fact that Ottawa has fully entered the month of November but has yet to win a home game since October 17, 2013. The Sens are playing just above 0.400, and as much as we're happy to accept the loser point in certain situations, the consequences must needs follow.

Remember the stretch of games midway through last season where the Sens seemed unable to pull together a regulation win? It was shootout after shootout after overtime after shootout. Yet there was one key difference: the Senators were able to win approximately half of those games. This year, Ottawa has won one out of five games that extended to overtime or shootout. That highlights all the loser point is really good for—keeping on the better side of a 0.500 record. It gives a team absolutely no leeway in terms of breathing room: if all you've done is rack up OTL points, then once you start losing in regulation, you're falling hard and fast. Or, in our case right now, if you've lost in regulation a lot before, OTL points won't cut it.

It doesn't matter when it happens. A losing streak at the season's start has just as much impact on a team's berth in the playoffs as a losing streak at the season's end, and the Sens losing now means they'll have to win more later. That degree of freedom is gone; with each game lost now, that's one less game they can afford to lose in the future. Likewise, with each win now, that's one game available for them to lose later with less repercussions.

Losing is inevitable. Long streaks of OTLs are not—and that's why we shouldn't be satisfied with the loser point as Sens fans. When we continue to lose against all levels of NHL teams, despite playing a mostly-well-rounded game for the majority of 60 minutes, it's important to be aware of what these continued losses means for Ottawa. Namely: 2 points less room of breathing space in the division—and counting.

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