Senators collapse again

They got a point, so that is some consolation.

Senators collapse again
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (L) of the New York Islanders scores on Robin Lehner of the Ottawa Senators during second period NHL action at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, November 01, 2013. (Jean Levac/Ottawa Citizen)

They got a point, so that is some consolation.

But they also blew two two-goal leads on the way to a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders, so that’s not going to sit well with the Ottawa Senators, and in particular coach Paul MacLean. They’re now winless in their last four games.

Frans Nielsen, who scored early the third period to tie the game at 4-4, scored the only shootout goal to give the Islanders the win.

Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Bobby Ryan missed their attempts.

The Senators lost their only other shootout game this year, 5-4 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, in their second game of the season.

Erik Condra, who left in the second period with a strained muscle in his right leg, Mika Zibanejad, Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur, with his first of the season, scored for the Senators in regulation.

Ryan also had an assist for his 300th and 301st NHL points. Erik Karlsson had two assists.

John Tavares, Matt Martin, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and Neilsen scored for the Islanders in regulation.

Robin Lehner had a full night of work, facing 53 shots in regulation time and 57 through overtime. That broke his previous personal high of 50, set twice, most recently on Oct. 12 in San Jose.

That was three short of the franchise record for shots against in regulation time, 56, which was set on Oct. 13 in Anaheim. Craig Anderson was in net for that game.

Evgeni Nabokov, at the other end, faced 27 shots in regulations and 31 through overtime.

If you were a fan of the Islanders, there was no justice to be had from the first period.

Except for the first three or four minutes, when the Senators hemmed the Islanders in, and the last three, when Condra and Zibanejad scored, the Islanders outplayed the Senators, outshooting them 18-9 and giving up one good scoring chance through the first 18 minutes — a two-on-one short-handed break by Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur.

But while Lehner was strong at his end, stopping everything, including a short-handed breakaway from Michael Grabner, Nabokov wasn’t. Though he stopped Turris on the two-on-one break, the two goals he let in were weak ones.

Condra’s, started by a bad clearing pass from defenceman Andrew MacDonald, went through Nabokov’s legs.

Zibanejad’s, with 20 seconds left in the period, went through his glove.

In a perfect world, the Islanders might have been up 2-0. Instead, they were in a hole.

An assist to Zibanejad’s goal was later added to give Derek Grant his first point in the NHL.

The second period was another of shifting fortunes.

In the space of 28 seconds from 9:07 to 9:35, the Islanders tied the game on goals from Tavares and Martin.

But just as quickly as they got back into the game, the Islanders again ceded the lead to Ottawa on goals from Ryan, who knocked in a shot that got past Nabokov but not all the way in, and MacArthur, whose wraparound had to be confirmed through a video review.

With 1:36 left in the period, Bouchard brought the Islanders to within one when he knocked in a rebound at the left post.

But Lehner could hardly be faulted. By that point, he had already faced 43 shots.

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GAME FILE

CHEERS

It was a relief for Clarke MacArthur to get his first goal of the season, though it took an agonizingly long video review to determine that he had indeed tucked it inside the right post on Evgeni Nabokov’s glove side. The veteran goalie tried to muddy the picture with his pad but referee Eric Furlatt had a clear view from behind the net.

JEERS

It’s easy to criticize Nabokov for his weak game, but the Senators deserve special criticism for the number of shots they allowed (57). Robin Lehner set a new franchise record for saves in a regular season game with 53.

PENALTY MILESTONE

When Zack Smith took back-to-back minor penalties at the end of the second, he became the 20th Senator to accumulate 300 penalty minutes (he now has 302). His second minor helped give the Islanders a five-on-three advantage, so it was hardly a reason for celebration.

EMPTY SEATS

The Senators had their smallest crowd of the season for Friday’s game, only 15,589 fans in a building that has a capacity of 19,153. After five games, the Senators are still looking for their first capacity crowd, a fact that is undoubtedly worrying owner Eugene Melnyk. The other four games have attracted crowds of 18,867, 18,623, 17,590, and 17,145.

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