Thrashers deflate Sens

Atlanta Thrashers Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Rich Peverley, and Nick Antropov celebrate their...

Atlanta Thrashers Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Rich Peverley, and Nick Antropov celebrate their third goal of the game against Ottawa Senators goaltender Brian Elliott. (ERROL MCGIHON/QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

The Senators didn't quit Monday night. But a rousing comeback didn't take away the sting of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.

After the Senators had erased a three-goal deficit to force the extra period, Bryan Little scored his second goal of the game, beating Brian Elliott on a breakaway.

Trailing 3-0, the Senators stormed back with Jason Spezza's third-period, penalty-shot goal evening the score after earlier goals from Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Neil.

Neil said this loss wasn't easy to digest. But he was happy with the effort.

"We showed a lot of character bouncing back," said Neil, who broke a 16-game slump that stretched back to Nov. 9 vs. Atlanta. "The energy we created in the third was great to see. We didn't hang our heads.

"We had a chance to put them away. It's definitely a devastating loss and it wasn't a good feeling in our dressing room afterwards."

Alfredsson's goal broke a career-high 10-game slump.

"It feels good, no question," said Alfredsson. "It was a lucky bounce, it was right on my stick and I just had to shoot it quick."

Dustin Byfuglien and Jim Slater also scored for the Thrashers.

After Pascal Leclaire suffered a lower-body injury Sunday, Senators coach Cory Clouston had no choice but to start Elliott and he picked up right where he left off in Thursday's 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers -- with another sub-par effort.

Spezza completed the comeback at 7:23 of the third, scoring on a penalty shot he was awarded after being hooked by Zach Bogosian.

"We hope to build off it. We played a pretty strong game," said Spezza. "We know they're ahead of us and you don't want to lose points to those teams. We were down (three), we clawed back and got a point out of it, but you want to win the game."

The Senators were down 3-1 after 40 minutes.

Moments after Byfuglien set a Thrashers franchise record for goals by a defencemen with his 11th of the season, Alfredsson, with his first goal since Nov. 17, picked up a giveaway in front of the net and beat Ondrej Pavelec on the stick side at 18:31.

You had to wonder if the Senators were going to score.

Pavelec made huge stops in the opening 12 minutes of the first and that was enough time to allow the Thrashers to get back on their feet. Byfuglien set up the second goal with a standout shift.

Slater was able to tip a Eric Boulton shot home on the glove side at 9:36 on only the second shot Elliott faced in the period. That had to deflate the bench because the Senators had completely outplayed the Thrashers.

Clouston was pleased with the effort, but not the result.

"I don't know if the term acceptable is right," said Clouston. "We played hard, we played well and we deserved a better fate. We showed a lot of character coming back. We dug deep.

"The nice thing was we didn't give up, we didn't quit. The third was a real good period for us, unfortunately we only come away with the one point."

The Senators hit the road to face the Minnesota Wild Thursday and the Colorado Avalanche Friday.


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