Senators waste early lead in key Florida game

All of the Ottawa Senators deserve to be spanked for this one.

Senators waste early lead in key Florida game
Matt Puempel. (Julie Oliver/OttawaCitizen)

SUNRISE, Florida — All of the Ottawa Senators deserve to be spanked for this one.

From a comfortable 2-0 first-period lead against a team that had played the night before, the Senators stopped playing in the second, fell behind 3-2, and ended up losing 4-2.

Jared Cowen and Chris Neil scored for the Senators, while Marcel Goc, on a flukely deflection, Kyrstofer Barch, on a breakaway, Mikael Samuelsson, a power-play goal, and Jack Skille, with 1:26 to go, scored for the Panthers.

Robin Lehner faced 28 shots while Jose Theodore faced 24.

Certainly coach Paul MacLean felt like taking his team to the woodshed.

“Our competition level after the first period stayed the same and theirs obviously elevated to a higher level,” he said.

“Instead of raising our competition level as the game went on, we just got frustrated and took selfish penalties that took us out of the game and led to more frustration and a lack of execution.”

Lehner didn’t have a chance on the first goal, by Goc, but was upset he didn’t stop Barch’s breakaway that tied the game 2-2.

“It was frustrating,” he said.

“After the first, we looked really good. I don’t know what happened in the second.

“In the second, I think our whole team collapsed a little bit.

“They came out hard and hungry. I think their first goal was a fluke, a very lucky goal.

“But the second, I feel like I have to have that. That’s one of the best parts of my game.”

Despite all the giveaways and sloppy plays of the first period, the Senators left with a 2-0 lead after outshooting the Panthers 12-9.

Cowen opened the scoring at 13:23 with one that was a surprise to Theodore, with the way it drifted its way in from the left point.

With just 1:28 to go in the period, Neil made it 2-0 when he got a rebound off a backhander from Jim O’Brien.

After that, though, the Senators played the second like they had already won the game, and the Panthers took advantage.

Goc scored just 33 seconds in when he deflected a shot from Mike Weaver up and over Lehner.

Then, a little more than two minutes later, Barch beat Lehner on a breakaway.

The final blow came halfway through the period just one minute into a four-minute minor to Chris Neil for high-sticking Ed Jovanovski, when Samuelsson iflipped a shot over Lehner’s glove.

“It is frustrating after we have a good first period,” said Neil.

“They score on the first shift of the second, then they get another one. Then I take a four-minute penalty myself.

“It’s just one of those things that I wish I could take that back. They had some momentum going and that just gave them more momentum.”

GAME FILE

WHY THEY LOST: Because they quit after the first period. They had only eight shots in the second and only three in the third.

STUD: Jose Theodore. He didn’t have a lot of work after the first period, but he did what Robin Lehner did. He gave his team a chance to win.

DUD: Erik Karlsson. There were lots of candidates, but we’ll give it to our Norris Trophy favourite for back-to-back penalties in the third, including a selfish slash on Sean Bergenheim. He also got beat on Skille’s fourth goal. He was a minus-two with no shots.

LONG TALE OF WOE: Going into the game, the Panthers hadn’t defeated the Senators in their last nine games and were 5-17-1 since the start of the 2006-07 season.

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