Sleepy Senators fall 4-1 to Blue Jackets

Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean said he’d have to “get the roosters out a little earlier” to ensure his team would be ready for its early-afternoon contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday.

Sleepy Senators fall 4-1 to Blue Jackets
Cam Atkinson #13 of the Columbus Blue Jackets breaks away with the puck past Eric Gryba #62 of the Ottawa Senators during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on November 17, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

A day before the Ottawa Senators’ early-afternoon contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach Paul MacLean said he’d have to “get the roosters out a little earlier” to ensure his team would be ready to play.

The farm birds must have hit the snooze button a few times Sunday morning, along with a good number of players and fans.

The Blue Jackets scored three power play goals and defending Vezina Trophy-winner Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves en route to an easy 4-1 win on a lazy, rainy day at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Ryan Johansen, R.J. Umberger, Fedor Tyutin and Derek MacKenzie found the back of the net for the Blue Jackets. Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators on a five-on-three power play with 2:27 remaining in the game.

Craig Anderson, making his third straight start, stopped 18 shots.

Only a season-low 15,535 fans showed up to watch the Senators’ first-ever regulation time loss to the Blue Jackets on home ice, and many of them cut bait with the score 4-0 midway through the third period.

If Friday’s 4-2 comeback win over the Atlantic Division powerhouse Boston Bruins was supposed to be a confidence-builder, the good vibes certainly didn’t carry over to Sunday’s tilt against the Metropolitan Division’s basement-dweller.

Once again, the Senators were left trying to explain how it could all go so wrong.

“It’s tough to say exactly what it is,” Karlsson said afterwards. “We know for a fact that we can’t have it like this and we  want to come out better and start better in the games, and that’s something we haven’t done all season.

“(We) have to try and figure it out, because we can’t keep battling back every game … it’s not going to work.”

The loss dropped Ottawa’s record to 1-3-1 in afternoon games.

“The game starts at (1 p.m.), they’re battling the same things as we are, and we’ve got to find a way to  make it work and wake up,” Karlsson continued.

The Jackets picked up just their third road win in nine tries this season, while the Senators once again fell below .500 at the CTC (4-5-2).

While it may not have made a difference in the end, it was unfortunate one of the game’s turning points came as a result of a terrible penalty call.

With the score 1-0 early in the second period, Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki was sent off for “roughing,” or as it’s known in the hockey world, “throwing a body check.”

It took Umberger all of eight seconds to bash in a loose puck on the ensuing power play and cushion the lead.

Borowiecki was back in the box with fellow defenceman Eric Gryba when Tyutin made it 3-0 at the 12:07 mark, putting the contest out of reach with a slap shot from the point.

Borowiecki’s own game would end at the 5:44 mark of the third after he threw a high hit on Columbus winger Jared Boll. Borowiecki picked up a five-minute major for elbowing, in addition to five for fighting (Columbus defenceman James Wisniewski jumped him after the hit) and a 10-minute misconduct.

Borowiecki said he did his best to keep his elbow in on the play, and MacLean argued the collision was nothing more than a hard hockey hit.

“I was just trying to finish a check … you never want to hurt someone or put someone physically in jeopardy,” Borowiecki said. “I was just trying to make a hard play and what happened, happened.”

By that time, the call was inconsequential. MacKenzie had pushed the score to 4-0 just 17 seconds earlier.

The first period started out the way they usually do for Senators afternoon games – slowly.

Columbus hit the scoresheet at the 4:50 with former Blue Jacket Marc Methot off serving a minor penalty for holding.

Johansen’s sixth goal of the season came through a screen in front of a frozen Anderson, who didn’t appear to see the shot at all.

The Jackets ran the shot count to 7-1 at one point, with the Senators closing the gap to 10-5 by the first intermission. Most of the good chances were in the Ottawa end, with Anderson stopping a handful of good opportunities in close.

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GAME FILE

WHY THEY LOST

Their power play was powerless, their penalty kill got killed and they spotted their opponent a 3-0 lead before the game was 33 minutes old.

CHEERS

Ryan Johansen, Blue Jackets

The former fourth overall pick (2010) led the way on the score sheet, picking up a goal and an assist. Fedor Tyutin also contributed two points.

JEERS

Ottawa’s power play

It would have been a different game had the Senators cashed on one of their early opportunities. They helped the Blue Jackets’ 22nd-ranked penalty kill look positively competent.

TIME FOR NICK

The Senators gave a video board stick tap to former Ottawa winger Nick Foligno, who was dealt to Columbus for Marc Methot a couple summers ago. The team sent along its best wishes for the speedy recovery of Foligno’s infant daughter, who recently underwent surgery to repair a heart defect.

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