The Ottawa Senators grabbed a 2-1 series lead over the Boston Bruins tonight thanks to a Bobby Ryan overtime winner. The Senators were in command of the game early as they ran out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period of Game 3.
The Bruins mounted an impressive comeback, tying the score at three before time ran out on the second frame. It was all for naught though, and the Bruins now see their 1-0 series lead quick turn into a 2-1 deficit.
It's often hard to point the finger at just one player after a team's loss. It's easier to pinpoint one man who sparked a team and led his squad to victory. Heck, the Sens typically can give all the credit to Erik Karlsson when they come away with a victory.
However, it was pretty obvious who cost the Bruins a series lead in a big swing game tonight. He was sitting right there in the penalty box as the Sens celebrated in the B's zone.
Riley Nash earned himself that trip to the box when he selfishly took a swing at none other than Game 3 hero Bobby Ryan early in the first overtime. Ryan hit Nash along the boards and it was clear that Nash didn't like it. Instead of considering the circumstances in this critical situation, Nash clearly didn't think at all and immediately punched Ryan in the face.
It was too obvious of a call for the referees to ignore, even in an overtime that saw a few questionable cross-checks go uncalled. The refs wanted to let the team's play. Nash didn't want to play.
So he sat. And he watched as the man he got revenge on, for a body check that was deemed legal by both officials, converted on a nifty give and go with Kyle Turris.
It blows my mind that NHL players can be so selfish as to take justice into their own hands in overtime. Isn't the outcome of the hockey game more important than "getting even" with a player who threw a hit that you didn't like?
You would think so. I get that tempers and intensity run high in the postseason. However, being level-headed and not taking selfish penalties can be the difference between winning and losing a series. NHL players ought to know this by now.
However, all too often you see players make questionable decisions in critical moments during the playoffs. It costs their teams at the most important time of year.
Thanks to the selfish penalty by Nash, the Senators are halfway to punching their ticket to the second round.
If Nash isn't careful, he'll be punching his ticket to the press box and his team's ticket to a golf resort.