Futility continues for punchless Senators

The Ottawa Senators fell deeper into uncharted territory on Tuesday night with their seventh consecutive loss, 3-1 to the St. Louis Blues.

Futility continues for punchless Senators
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators fell deeper into uncharted territory on Tuesday night with their seventh consecutive loss, 3-1 to the St. Louis Blues.

Since this skid started, the Senators have got just one point from a 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders and are clinging to the No. 8 playoff spot in the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Florida Panthers.

Daniel Alfredsson got the only goal for the Senators (27-22-7), during a power play early in the second period.

David Perron scored twice for the Blues (31-14-7), with Chris Porter getting one.

Craig Anderson, making his 18th consecutive start for Ottawa, was pulled after allowing two goals on four shots in the first 3:49 of the opening period.

It didn’t take much reading between the lines to see that Senators coach Paul MacLean was steaming.

“I don’t think we were ready to play the game,” MacLean said.

“You have to be ready at the start. We made one execution error on the first goal, obviously, and on the second goal they just skated right through us, so obviously we weren’t prepared to play the game.”

MacLean went on to say the Senators are at best stuck in neutral and at worse slipping backwards.

“Our team has come out of the (All-Star Game) break and stayed the same,” he said.

“The league has gone to another level, and we haven’t. We might even have gone backwards, I’m not sure yet, but we certainly haven’t gone on to the same level as everybody else in the league.”

Alex Auld, in his first appearance since Jan. 23 in Los Angeles, finished the game and allowed one goal on 14 shots after replacing Anderson.

Blues goalie Brian Elliott made a triumphant return for a victory against the team that drafted him and eventually traded him last season to the Colorado Avalanche for Anderson.

He faced 29 shots for his 16th victory of the season.

Among the Ottawa players who had a tough night was defenceman Erik Karlsson, who made a turnover in the second period that led to Perron’s second goal.

The team is feeling the heat, Karlsson said.

“We’ve got to try to snap out of it as fast as we can,” he said.

“We know it’s going to be tough. This is where it will be decided if were going to be in playoffs or not. We’ve just got to get back to a nice winning streak.”

To do that, the Senators will have to stop being their own worst enemies, as they were on Tuesday night.

“It’s one thing if a team really puts a lot of pressure on us and dominates in its own end and scores that way. You can handle that,” captain Daniel Alfredsson said.

“But, when you give away easy goals, especially in our situation, it makes it a pretty tough night, especially against teams like St. Louis that play good defensively.

“It’s going to be tough to get goals.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

GAME FILE

WHY THEY LOST: Because instead of the fast start they were seeking, they gave up two goals in the first four minutes, which turned out to be too much to overcome.

STUD: Brian Elliott. He was the dud so many times last year that he deserves this accolade. He didn’t have a difficult night, save for a good chance by Kyle Turris in the third, but he was good enough.

DUD: Erik Karlsson. Remember when his value kept going up and up with each point he got? Now it keeps dropping with every lazy turnover he commits, like the one to David Backes that led to the Blues third goal.

THE DROPPING DIFFERENTIAL: Just two weeks ago, the Senators were above the water line in plus-minus goal differential after spending much of the first half on the negative side. But the losing streak has seen the differential head deep into the red again. After Tuesday’s game, they were minus-12.

What do you think? Leave a comment