Sens clipped by Isles, lose 5th straight

The only consolation for the Ottawa Senators — and it’s small consolation, indeed — is that the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t catch them in the standings when the Battle of Ontario resumes tonight at Scotiabank Place.

Sens clipped by Isles, lose 5th straight
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)

By Ken Warren
Islanders 2, Senators 1 (OT)
The only consolation for the Ottawa Senators — and it’s small consolation, indeed — is that the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t catch them in the standings when the Battle of Ontario resumes tonight at Scotiabank Place.
Yet picking up a mere single point in Friday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders left a hollow feeling. A three-point lead on the Maple Leafs isn’t much of a lead at all, considering that Toronto has played three fewer games.
The ultimate insult Friday came in the form of the game-winning goal scorer. Mark Eaton, a defensive defenceman playing in his 600th career game, was left alone to tap in a backhand past Senators goaltender Craig Anderson at the 2:35 mark of overtime. It was Eaton’s first goal of the season.
This is what a slump looks like. The Senators have now lost five straight games. They’ve blown a third-period lead in the past two games. This time, though, it wasn’t against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Rather, it was the New York Islanders, who began the night in 13th spot in the Eastern Conference standings and long ago gave up hopes of making the playoffs.
“We didn’t have the same jump we had Tuesday in Boston,” understated Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. “Hopefully, (tonight) we have more energy. Then we can draw more some penalties and get more power plays.”
It won’t do much good if their play with the manpower advantage is anything like it was on their two dreadful opportunities Friday. Coach Paul MacLean put it bluntly.
“I thought the power play sucked the life out of us,” he said.
Yet that was only one of the many failings for the Senators against the Islanders.
They had a poor start — outshot 14-8 in the first period — and a poor finish.
When they did take control in the middle of the game — Zack Smith’s short-handed goal with 13 seconds left in the second period gave them a 1-0 lead and marked the first time in nine games they had scored first — they made a costly mistake to give up the edge.
On Matt Martin’s tying goal, 5:27 into the third period, Senators defenceman Jared Cowen inexplicably crossed the width of the ice in an attempt to hit PA Parenteau, a player already covered by Sergei Gonchar. When Parenteau passed to Martin, he had a free pass to the net, beating Anderson low to the stick side.
“If he comes across, he should make sure he comes all the way across and gets the guy,” said MacLean. “If you come across, you’ve got to make sure you play the guy hard and force him to put the puck in deep.”
The Senators also wasted a strong effort from Anderson, who was solid in bouncing back from the 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins when he allowed the game-winning goal on a slapshot from centre ice.
Anderson finished with 30 saves and was the main reason the game was scoreless in the opening period, far busier than Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
MacLean is asking for more jump tonight against the Maple Leafs, who were in town Friday, waiting. He’s got to be crossing his fingers that No. 1 centre Jason Spezza has recovered from his fight with the flu. Spezza had limited energy on Friday, his fifth straight game without a point.
“We have to create more chances,” said Kyle Turris, who was one of the better Senators on Friday. “We wanted better, but we have another chance at it (Saturday).”

GAME FILE:
Why the Sens lost: They blew another third period lead and left Mark Eaton all alone at the side of the net in overtime.
Stud: Mark Eaton, Islanders: There haven’t been many offensive highlights for the defensive defenceman during his career, but this was a rare time for him to shine.
Dud: Jared Cowen, Senators: He has been rock solid all season long, but what was he possibly thinking leading up to the Matt Martin goal?

POWERPLAY-LESS STRING ENDS:
The Senators’ stretch of playing time without a power play opportunity ended at 106:58 when the Islanders Kyle Okposo received a high-sticking penalty (on Zack Smith) at the 7:25 mark of the second period.

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