Most Senators fans are still reeling from Saturday nights epic collapse against the Montreal Canadiens, when their team became the first in NHL history to lose a game in which they had a three-goal lead in the final five minutes. The loss was painful on so many levels and seemed to put a definitive nail in the coffin when it came to the Senators playoff chances. And while its easy to point to that loss as the one that killed the teams post-season hopes, it was merely the final straw in a season-long string of disappointments. That collapse against Montreal was spectacular and historic (for the wrong reasons), but it wasnt an anomaly when it comes to the 2013-14 Ottawa Senators. On too many occasions this season, this team squandered opportunities to get two points – either settling for one or being blanked altogether.
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Here is a look at the 10 games that will likely cost the Senators a playoff spot this season: 1) October 5th – 5-4 shootout loss at TOR Just 24 hours after shutting out the Buffalo Sabres in the season opener, the Senators jumped out to a 4-2 lead against the Maple Leafs midway through the second period. But with time running out in that frame, Joffrey Lupul scored a goal to pull the Leafs to within one goal heading into the third period. And in what would become an eerie preview of what to expect defensively throughout the season, the Senators would allow the Leafs to tie the game – and then win it in a shootout. 2) November 1st – 5-4 shootout loss vs NYI The Senators managed to blow a two-goal lead twice in this game, squandering 2-0 and 4-2 advantages. And knowing what we know about the 2013-14 New York Islanders now, this loss looks even more ridiculous in hindsight. Adding to the lunacy of this night was the fact the Senators surrendered 57 shots on goal to New York. Thats not a typo. 3) December 10th – 2-1 shootout loss at BUF Granted, the Senators played the night before and beat the Philadelphia Flyers in a spirited shootout on home ice. But the Sens looked pretty average against the NHLs worst team the very next night and managed to score only a single goal. The offensive malaise even extended into the shootout, which required 10 rounds before the Sabres eventually won it. 4) December 19th – 4-2 loss vs FLA This was another costly loss to an Eastern Conference lightweight – only it was more damaging because it occurred in regulation time.
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The Senators led this game 2-1 after the first period and should have been sparked by a brilliant highlight reel goal from Jason Spezza. Instead, the Panthers scored twice in the final 2:32 of the game to stun the Sens with a 4-2 victory. Ottawa was on the power play with a chance to tie the game in the final 90 seconds, but allowed a 2-on-1 the other way and Tomas Kopecky buried them with a shorthanded goal. 5) December 21st – 4-3 overtime loss vs PHX Former Senator Antoine Vermette killed the Senators in this matinee game, as he scored a hat trick – which was capped off with the overtime winner. The Senators actually held a 2-0 lead in this game and also had a 3-2 advantage with under three minutes to play in the third period. This game may have been the best microcosm for the Sens penchant for sloppiness in afternoon games. 6) January 8th – 4-3 overtime loss at COL Once again, the Senators were less than three minutes away from a regulation time victory, only to have disaster strike. Paul Stastny scored the tying goal with just over two minutes left and then Tyson Barrie scored the overtime winner 33 seconds into the extra frame.