Senators stopped by Stars
It was a game Ottawa should have won
|Senators goaltender Craig Anderson eyes the puck in front of Stars forward Jamie Benn in Dallas, Tex., Dec. 1, 2011. (MIKE STONE/Reuters)
DALLAS - In Texas, where everything is bigger, the Senators took a king-sized flop.
Owning a 2-1 lead with a bit more than eight minutes to go, they surrendered a pair of goals in the final 5:34 to lose 3-2 to the Stars.
The loss, in front of 10,490 at the American Airline Center, stopped Ottawa’s winning streak at two.
Radek Dvorak redirected a Mike Ribeiro pass off Brian Lee’s skate and into the Senators’ net at 14:26 of the third period to tie the game. And, with 2:20 left, Eric Nystrom won a battle behind the net with Erik Karlsson, stepped out front and fired a low shot past Chris Phillips and Craig Anderson for the winner.
Andrew Raycroft made a big blocker save off Milan Michalek and then a glove save off Daniel Alfredsson at the buzzer, to preserve the victory.
“At first I thought Raycroft had it,” Alfredsson said of Karlsson’s point shot. “But he dropped it and I was right there. I shot it as quick as I could but he was able to recover and get his glove there.”
Michalek said his last- minute shot went off the knob of Raycroft’s stick.
“It was a lucky save,” said Michalek, who broke a 1-1 tie with a nifty effort 11:42 into the third. Alfredsson took a shot from the right wing that Raycroft steered with his blocker to the left wing. Unfortunately for him, that’s where Michalek hovered.
Reaching up for the puck then pulling it down, Michalek continued the fluid motion by whacking a shot behind Raycroft.
It was his third goal in two games, seventh in the past 11 and 15th on the season. That pulls him to within one goal of NHL scoring leaders Phil Kessel and Steve Stamkos.
But it would not hold up.
Anderson made a big, right pad save off Michael Ryder, then another off Loui Eriksson in the paint, to keep the game tied midway through the third period.
The Senators owned momentum out of the gate, taking the game’s first five shots on goal, and grabbed the first lead on a strong play by rookie Jared Cowen.
As Erik Condra was just about to step out of the penalty box, Cowen drilled Dallas’ Philip Larsen into the side boards. He then gathered the loose puck and, upon seeing Condra hustling down the right side, sent him in on a semi-break that saw the winger beat Raycroft with a high shot to the glove side.
“We battled to get the lead,” said Spezza. “To give it up in the last five minutes makes it a tough loss.”
“Its obviosly disappointing,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean. “The first 55 minutes, I thought we played real well. Unfortunatley in the last five minutes we got defensive and couldn’t get out of our end when we had opportunities.
“When you have the lead in this league, you have to continue to play hard. You have to make sure you stay committed. I think it’s part of the learning process for us, of how to win games on the road.
“You can’t take things for granted that things are going to happen. You have to go on the ice and dictate the way the game is played. Make sure you’re strong on pucks and you’re strong at your net. We weren’t those things in the last five minutes.”
The Senators’ charter left Dallas immediately after the game for Washington, where on Saturday night they will face a Capitals team that is now 0-2 under new coach Dale Hunter.