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Bad night for Ottawa, great night for ex-Senators

Antoine Vermette, Corey Crawford

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 12: Antoine Vermette #50 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates after scoring a second period goal past goaltender Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on April 12, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators had a rough time on Thursday, suffering a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the first round. Ottawa fell behind 4-0 and while they were able to score a couple of late goals to make the contest look close, they would probably just as soon put Thursday night behind them. Things went much better for several of the Senators’ former players.

Chris Kelly was originally taken in the third round of the 1999 draft by the Senators and served as a member of their organization until he was traded to the Bruins in Feb. 2011 for a second round pick. The Bruins were grateful to have Kelly last night as he scored the overtime winner in Boston’s 1-0 game against Washington. Martin Havlat, who the Senators also got in the 1999 draft, netted two goals for San Jose, including the game-winning goal in double overtime.

The Senators also selected Antoine Vermette and held onto him for the first four-plus seasons of his NHL career. They eventually parted ways with him via a trade back in 2009 and last night he found the back of the net in Phoenix’s 3-2 victory over Chicago.

Of course, while it’s easy to point at this oddity and insinuate that the Senators have made some bad choices, that’s really not the case. Trading away Kelly for a second rounder made sense at the time because the Senators were rebuilding and Ottawa got a great goaltending prospect in Robin Lehner as part of the Antoine Vermette deal. Besides, while Vermette, Havlat, and Kelly are all playing for teams that have a much better shot of getting past the first round, the Ottawa Senators could be a much more intimidating team in a couple years.