Patience is fast becoming a tired word around Scotiabank Place.
Everyone knew there were going to be some long nights during the rebuilding process. But every second night?
The morale-boosting 2-1 loss to the Capitals in Washington on Saturday is history now.
Returning home for the first time since last Thursday’s 7-1 embarrassment against the Colorado Avalanche, the Senators delivered yet another stinker against the Philadelphia Flyers, losing 7-2.
It should come as little surprise that the players huddled alone in the dressing room for 20 minutes afterwards, searching for answers.
“We’ve got to find more urgency in our game and more resilience when things go bad,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson, echoing comments made after the team lost its first two games of the season. “We’re going to have situations where we get a bounce or whatever against you or whatever, but we’ve got to do a much better job and give a push back right away.”
Jason Spezza, who scored the Senators first goal, said the team has to “forge an identity”, but said “it’s no time to roll over” because there are a lot of games remaining.
Thanks to back-up goaltender Alex Auld’s shaky night while subbing for number one Craig Anderson, the romp started early.
It was 2-0 after eight minutes, 4-0 at the first intermission.
Senators coach Paul MacLean had no choice but to hook Auld in favour of Anderson to start the second period.
“It’s hard to put something like that into words, but it wasn’t what I wanted and I didn’t really give the guys a chance to get off to a good start,” said Auld. “Obviously, you want to make more saves than that and that’s the bottom line.”
When given a chance to make something of the dim situation – an extended 4-on-3 and 5-on-3 edge early in the second period — the Senators couldn’t hit the net. That made life easy for Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who was seeing his first action of the season, subbing for number one netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.
Spezza scored late in the second, making it 4-1 heading into the third, but James Van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier and Harry Zolnierczyk scored late in the third, adding to the Senators misery. Erik Karlsson finished off the scoring. For fans digging deep for positives, Karlsson now has one goal and seven assists in six games.
Auld yielded first period goals to Matt Reid, Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Max Talbot.
Coach Paul MacLean was blunt.
“I thought we stopped playing in the first period after they scored (the first) goal and allowed them to score three more,” MacLean said. “We’re not very pleased at all with the game or the effort and we need to have an evaluation of our team and how we want to play because right now, we’re not doing a very good job of it.”
WHY THEY LOST: The Senators were never really in it. Alex Auld yielded a horrible game-opening goal and less than two minutes later, the Flyers cashed in on the power play. The Flyers then turned it into an early romp with two late first period goals.
STUD: Matt Read, Flyers. A far less heralded rookie than Flyers first round pick Sean Couturier, the 25-year-old Reid was the scoring star of the first period. He had a goal and helped set up Wayne Simmonds, Max Talbot and Sean Couturier for goals. Read has two goals and four assists in five games.
DUD: Alex Auld, Senators. There were a couple for the lowlights reel. Reid’s game-opening shortside goal and Claude Giroux’s shot off the post and in from the right faceoff circle. Auld yielded four goals on 10 shots. That’s a .600 save percentage for those of you scoring at home.
AND THE POINTS KEEP COMING: Jaromir Jagr registered a first-period assist, adding to his impressive numbers against the Senators. Jagr is the all-time leading point-getter against Ottawa, with 36 goals and 41 assists in 60 games.