Mason, Jets shut down Senators

Well, that was quite the homestand, wasn’t it?

Mason, Jets shut down Senators
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout 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)

Well, that was quite the homestand, wasn’t it?

The Ottawa Senators, playing their lone contest at Scotiabank Place in a 10-game stretch, delivered a flat, lacklustre performance in a 2-0 defeat to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

The Senators never recovered from a first-shot goal in the first minute and had no legs to deliver one of their trademark spirited third period comebacks. It was the first time since last March 1 that the Senators had been shutout. It’s also the first time any Jets team – either the current or previous franchise – has shut out the Senators.

The heady expectations stemming from a 3-0 road trip and a sparkling 8-0-1 disappeared quickly. If the Senators don’t rebound in a quick turnaround game Tuesday in Toronto, they’ll suddenly be staring at a two-game losing streak. Late Monday, it appeared the Senators would at least start the trip without defenceman Brian Lee, who is suffering a “lower body” injury according to coach Paul MacLean.

“We’ve got a big game (immediately) and we have to look forward,” said goaltending Craig Anderson, who did his part to keep the game close, stopping 33 of 35 shots. “The key to being successful in this league is putting these games behind you right away.”

Jim Slater opened the scoring only 49 seconds into the game and Tobias Enstrom padded the lead to 2-0 at the 6:48 mark of the second period, accounting for all the scoring.

While Jets goaltender Chris Mason made some good stops in the third period – and received some luck when Chris Neil and Bobby Butler hit the post on the same shift with three minute to go – he was barely tested in the opening two periods.

After 20 minutes, the Jets had outshot the Senators 13-3. After 40 minutes, the shout count was 25-11. The Jets also outhustled the tired-looking Senators throughout. The Senators did nothing to dispel the notion that teams returning home from long road trips rarely play well.

“We didn’t play as planned and they did a good job in the neutral zone and they limited us to only a few scoring chances and their goalie played great,” said defenceman Erik Karlsson. “We didn’t come up to our normal standard.”

Until a late, failed comeback attempt, the biggest spark of the night from the Senators came from their reaction to a borderline hit by the Jets’ Evander Kane on Karlsson. Kane caught the Senators defenceman high against the end boards and Karlsson lay on the ice for several seconds after the collision that Karlsson called “a cheap hit”. There was no penalty on the play.

The next time Kane was on the ice, MacLean iced a lineup that included Chris Neil and Matt Carkner.

Neil checked Kane and Jets defenceman Mark Stuart responded by knocking Neil to the ice. After Neil got up, he grabbed Kane and landed a few punches before the officials separated them. Carkner and Stuart, meanwhile, squared off. After all the hostilities, the Jets ended up with a power play.

“You’ve got to do some stuff on your own and obviously I’m not the right guy to go in and do that,” said the 180-pound Karlsson. “I didn’t ask for it and I appreciate them backing me up there.”

Yet Senators fans hoping the melee would serve as a rallying point were disappointed.

GAME FILE

Why They Lost: They were flat, plain and simple, and never recovered from Jim Slater’s first shot goal.

Stud: Chris Mason, Jets. He was barely tested in the first two periods, but made the big saves in the third period when he had to, preserving his shutout.

Duds: The Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Colin Greening line. They were on for both goals against, while producing little offensively. Spezza also had a rare rough night in the faceoff circle.

Hello, Goodbye: The Senators were fresh from a three-game road trip. After the game, they left immediately for Toronto and the start of another six-game trip. Their next home game is Feb.3 against the New York Islanders.

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