Senators blow lead, lose to Rangers

Alex Kovalev alongside coach Cory Clouston, who demoted the struggling winger to the fourth line on...

Alex Kovalev alongside coach Cory Clouston, who demoted the struggling winger to the fourth line on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place (ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:03 AM ET

The collapse at Scotiabank Place couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Senators.

The Senators blew a one-goal lead they carried going into the third period as the Rangers scored three times to pick up an important two points in a 5-3 win in front of 16,324 fans.

Michael Sauer scored the winner on the power play after Erik Christensen tied it up with a weak goal as the Senators wasted a two-goal effort by Mike Fisher. Jason Spezza also scored for Ottawa.

Sauer’s first NHL goal at 14:41 with Chris Neil in the box for charging, left the Senators wondering where they turn next as they blew a third-period lead for the first time in 11 games this season.

The Rangers also got goals from Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan and Ruslan Fedotenko.

Senators coach Cory Clouston was incensed afterward.

“I’m very disappointed. A bad third goal and an undisiciplined penalty to give up the fourth goal,” said Clouston. “It’s frustrating.”

Brian Elliott, a surprise starter after Pascal Leclaire made 35 stops Sunday in Ottawa 3-1 win over the Rangers in New York, fought the puck and it wasn’t more evident than on Christensen’s weak effort.

Christensen fired a puck from the corner that somehow got underneath Elliott and went in.

Elliott knew he blew it.

“That’s a tough part of the game. I’ve just got to let it go. It doesn’t happen very often,” said Elliott. “It’s bad puck luck. We played a good game. It’s never easy. You just have to let it go.”

Fisher’s second goal gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead at 8:47 of the second and the Senators looked good heading to the third.

Fisher said they have to keep their heads up.

“It’s a tough one. It’s frustrating and it’s disappointing,” said Fisher. “For the most part, we played a pretty solid game. We felt like we were in control. We had a couple of lapses and we’ve got to stay up.

“We made turnovers and miscues and they end up in the back of the net.”

At 2:08 of the second period, Fisher looked like he’d given the Senators a lead, but after further review it was ruled a shot he fired from the right circle hit the post, crossbar and didn’t going in the net after being signalled a goal.

Fisher, however, did halt the Senators' franchise record home-scoring drought at 2:54 of the first period. It was the first time Ottawa scored at home since 6:30 of the first period against the Oilers in a 4-1 loss Nov. 27 — a 181:24 at home.

The Senators have little time to recover from this letdown by hosting the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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