Update: On April 7 the following video emerged from Sunday’s game:
This close. Oh-so close.
The biggest game of the Ottawa Senators season was on Marc Methot’s stick with less than a minute to play in overtime on Sunday night and he rifled the rolling puck just wide of the Toronto Maple Leafs net.
Or did he?
The play didn’t receive an official video review in real time because the puck went past the goal and off the end boards, but some fans wondered whether it had actually gone through the mesh behind Jonathan Bernier.
“I don’t know how that didn’t go in,” analyst Greg Millen said on the Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcast. “It looked like it went through Bernier and out the other side.”
A review of multiple camera angles by Sportsnet on Monday confirmed that the puck missed the goal.
In the unlikely event it had gone in and been undetected, the result couldn’t have retroactively changed anyway.
Methot didn’t celebrate on the ice, nor did teammate Mark Stone, who was providing a screen in front. The Senators defenceman was asked afterwards how much his shot missed by after sneaking between Bernier’s left pad and catching glove.
“Not much I don’t think,” Methot told reporters. “I’m going to tell you guys I didn’t miss by much. It could’ve been three feet, I don’t know.”
It was definitely closer than that.
The near-miss became a hot topic of discussion because Ottawa ended up losing the game in a seven-round shootout, which could ultimately be the difference between making or missing the playoffs.
Had the Senators beaten the Leafs, they would have controlled their own destiny — able to guarantee themselves a post-season berth with wins over Pittsburgh, the Rangers and Philadelphia to close out the schedule.
Now they require help from the out-of-town scoreboard.
“It’s a costly lost point,” said Stone.
Ottawa is two points behind the Penguins, Red Wings and Bruins, and doesn’t hold any tiebreakers against those teams. That means they’ll need to pick up at least three points this week and hope that one of those squads struggles.
Tuesday’s home game against Pittsburgh, in particular, is virtually a must-win.
The fact they’re even in the race is amazing. The Sens were 14 points out of the final Eastern Conference wild card spot on Feb. 9 and have gone 20-4-4 since. Should they fall short, a pair of extra-time losses in Toronto over the last eight days will haunt them.
“That’s one the stings a little bit,” Methot said Sunday night. “I don’t know if one (point) is going to do it — hopefully it will — but at this point we’re still in it and we’ve still got to keep going.”
No use thinking about one that narrowly got away now.