Sens hit roadblock

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:10 PM ET

MONTREAL -- Canadiens 4, Senators 1

Battered and beaten, the Senators limped home last night as their seven-day journey ended with a disaster.

The Senators, without injured Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Martin Havlat, fell behind early and lost 4-1 to the Canadiens yesterday afternoon. The Senators won just once on their four-game road swing.

"I guess this just capped off a poor road trip," said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips. "We didn't play the way we wanted to play. But we can't dwell on what happened here.

"We had a tough 20 minutes, but I thought we fought hard for the last 40. We have to try to build on that."

After waking up in second place in the Eastern Conference, the Senators looked like they were asleep at the switch as they hit the halfway mark of the 82-game schedule.

Coach Bryan Murray started backup goalie Ray Emery, who went into the game unbeaten in three starts against Montreal.

But before many fans had a chance to settle into the couch to watch Game 1 of CBC's Hockey Day in Canada tripleheader, the Senators trailed 4-0.

Even Radek Bonk got into the act. The former Senators centre ended his 23-month goal-scoring drought -- he hadn't connected since Feb. 3, 2004 -- at 12:37 of the first period to give the Habs a 3-0 lead.

Mathieu Dandenault scored his first of the season at 15:33 to complete the goal barrage, ending the day for Emery, who was replaced by Dominik Hasek.

"I felt like I was ready," said Emery, who has given up 12 goals in the last 37 shots he's faced. "I obviously have to get better and I've got to take a step back here.

"I don't think what's happening to us right now is a confidence issue. I just think we have to work harder as a team. We've got to make sure we work together to get the job done."

"I don't want the blame on (Emery), but he just wasn't making the stops when we needed them," said Murray.

The Senators did nothing with their six power-play opportunities. The club hasn't scored a power-play goal since a 4-3 victory over the Islanders on Dec. 30 -- going 0-for-24 on this road trip.

"It seems like we're getting the shots through, it's not like we're not getting the opportunities," said a frustrated Dany Heatley.

It would have helped if officials Bill McCreary or Tom Kowal had noticed the Habs had six men on the ice for Saku Koivu's opening goal.

"They had six guys out there and what can I say? I told the guys before the game not to complain about the refereeing and then you can see on the replays that there are six guys within 10-15 feet of the net," said Murray.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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