The Senators were beaten in Pittsburgh last night by the Penguins 6-2, and the Penguins won the second round playoff series against Ottawa by 4 games to 1.
In all honesty, while I would have liked the Sens to beat the Penguins in the series, that wasn't going to realistically happen, though Ottawa played them well. This is a Pittsburgh Penguins team that is at the top of its game, that has speed, scoring, and determination, and that has a loaded line-up.
Other than the two final games of the series, won by Pittsburgh 7-3 and 6-2, the Sens hung in there in the early games, but their youth and injuries left them vulnerable to a Penguins team that is peaking at the right time.
That said, the Ottawa Senators will learn from this series, and that experience will be vital and healthy for the young corps of players that will make up the Senators roster for the next few years. They gave it a good fight, but they just weren't good enough to beat this Penguins team. There's no shame in that, and the Sens (and their fans) should hold their heads high for such a terrific strike-shortened season given all the injuries and adversity the team had to face.
And so, one now looks forward to the 2013-2014 NHL hockey season. I think the Ottawa Senators are in good shape going forward, and that next season will an exciting and full 82-game schedule. I also hope that Captain Daniel Alfredsson returns for one last season, though that remains to be seen. If nothing else, it'll be interesting to see how the changes in personnel and coaching and management decisions affect this team for next season.
I want to thank the Ottawa Senators - the players, the management, the off-ice personnel, and the folks at Scotiabank Place for a terrific (half-)year of NHL hockey, and look forward to another season of the same.
Go, Sens, Go! :)