Time to worry, Ottawa

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

They blamed at least part of it on a Monster, but what's really scary is an embarrassed, desperate and "urgent" Senators team couldn't beat a group of no-name Toronto Maple Leafs.

OK, so there was some passion to the Senators play in a 4-1 loss to the bad Buds at Scotiabank Place on Tuesday. And it's true Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson (a.k.a. "The Monster") was solid in making 30 saves. But on the heels of that dog in Vancouver on Saturday -- and with only one win in six games before the latest Battle of Ontario -- the Senators very much needed to get back on track.

And they didn't have enough to defeat a last place team.

How young are the Leafs? In his sophomore NHL season, 20-year-old Luke Schenn is third on the Leafs roster in terms of tenure.

Only Tomas Kaberle and Nikolai Kulemin have been with the team longer.

"I don't feel like an old guy, but it definitely is different seeing the new faces around," Schenn said Tuesday morning. "We've got a bunch of young guys here that want to work to get better."

If they get any better the Senators are really going to be in trouble.

Adding to the disappointment of the capacity crowd was the fact tough guys Matt Carkner and Colton Orr didn't engage in their fifth heavyweight tussle of the season. The two nearly came to blows with just under six minutes left in the opening period. It was the first time they were on the ice together.

Carkner was doing his impersonation of another Orr (Bobby) when Colton bumped him at centre ice, just between the two benches. Play stopped suddenly as the heavyweights exchanged pushes. But with linesmen getting in quickly, attention shifted to centre ice, where Chris Neil and Garnet Exelby skirmished.

A lot was expected from the Senators in their one game before heading out on another road trip. But at the end of the day, they could not deliver.

It's time to worry, Ottawa.

STARTS AND STOPS: Clearer than ever is that Cory Clouston has hitched his wagon to Brian Elliott. After his guy gave up three goals on nine shots -- including two on the first two of the second period -- Clouston called a time out. There existed a strong belief that if it had been Pascal Leclaire in goal, a switch would have been made ... Usually, taking the body is a good thing. But bad things happened to the Senators when they tried to, on the first two goals. Phil Kessel scored on an odd man rush when three Senators -- Chris Kelly, Daniel Alfredsson and Matt Cullen -- were finishing or trying to finish checks deep in the offensive zone. And John Mitchell gave the Leafs a 2-0 lead after Andy Sutton came up with nothing but splinters when he tried to hip check John Mitchell into the boards.

THINGS I THINK I THINK

Daniel Alfredsson nearly incited a riot when he hit Francois Beauchemin into the boards from behind in the third. Unfortunately, neither Colton Orr or Matt Carkner (or any other fighters of note) were on the ice at the time, leaving those who were to enjoy a great big group hug ... Playing his first game in six weeks, Nick Foligno was the Senators best player in the first period ... Rust was more evident on Chris Campoli, who fought the puck in his first game back after missing eight.

BETWEEN PERIODS

Carkner seems to be enjoying his closely followed feud with Orr more than the Maple Leafs tough guy. While Orr wasn't answering questions, Carkner grinned his way through a dozen over two days. One of them: What are you fuelling up with in anticipation of Round 5? "I had eggs and bacon (for breakfast)," the 231-lb. Carkner said at the morning skate. "And a few hash browns. Some toast, some cereal, big glass of milk. I'm going to have my fruits with my shake now." And for your pre-game meal? "Chicken, pasta, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, sweet potatoes ... and salmon." And your pre-game snack? "Yeah, at 4 p.m. Toast and peanut butter." That menu should fill you up just by reading it.

DON.BRENNAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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