Stars and gripes

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Bryan Smolinski stood in the hallway, wearing a look of frustration. He wasn't the only unhappy Senator last night.

"We've got to be better," said Smolinski.

In a room not far away from where the Senators winger was standing, coach Bryan Murray was voicing his displeasure with the club's effort in a 2-0 loss to the Dallas Stars in front of 19,581 at the Corel Centre.

It wasn't so much the loss that bugged Murray or Smolinski as much as it was the way it transpired.

Dallas goalie Marty Turco deserved credit for his 25 saves, but even he admitted this one was easy.

"I just sat back, relaxed and I was able to do what I do because they didn't give those guys much," said Turco, only the second goalie to blank the Senators this season. "We played a pretty phenomenal game."

Wingers Jere Lehtinen and Brendan Morrow, both on scrambles, were the only ones to beat Ottawa backup goalie Ray Emery.

The Senators were disappointed with the 10 power-play opportunities officials Stephane Auger and Gord Dwyer gave the Stars. The Senators had just three chances with the man advantage. The fans didn't appreciate it either -- they booed the referees off the ice.

"The penalties have been a problem in the last few games and it's something that we had better cut down on because you can't give a team that many power-play chances," said Senators defenceman Zdeno Chara.

"It's tough when you are shorthanded that much. Even if you are killing off the penalties, it's still takes a lot of energy out of you. It's tough for us right now.

"It seems like you touch a guy and you're going to get a call against you. We have to do a better job or it's going to be harder."

Smolinski was so upset with a hooking call in the third, he mouthed off at Dwyer and ended up with a double-minor.

"I was just frustrated because I didn't know I was getting a penalty in the first place and then the whistle goes and I'm going to the box," said Smolinski. "I was pushed into Stu Barnes from behind.

"I let him know how I felt. I wasn't happy with the call and the next thing you know I'm getting another two minutes. I said a lot and I said some things I shouldn't have said, but this was tough."

Even with centre Jason Spezza, who missed Monday's 6-2 win in Colorado with a hip flexor injury, reunited with Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson, the Senators still suffered their first loss at home in five games.

Murray, trying to get the offence going, moved Brandon Bochenski to the right side of Spezza and Heatley for the third period, while callup Patrick Eaves played alongside Alfredsson. Nothing was working.

"We just can't take the number of penalties we took and expect to win," said Murray.

The Senators have little time to rest. The Battle of Ontario resumes tomorrow night with the arch-rival Toronto Maple Leafs in town.


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