Sens suffer brain cramp

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

There have been many nights this season when the Senators were by far the better team and well-deserving of the one or two points they earned.

"We were way lucky to get a point out of that," said centre Bryan Smolinski after the Senators stumbled their way through a 4-3 shootout loss to the Mighty Ducks.

If not for the work of goalie Dominik Hasek, the Senators wouldn't have been in position to get a late short-handed goal by Dany Heatley to send the game into overtime.

Winger Chris Kunitz scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Ducks just their second win in 11 tries in extra time this season.

Without getting too technical, Smolinski described his club's second period last night as "crap."

"That was a lacklustre 20 minutes," he said, "just crap. That was not characteristic for us."

"We couldn't even break out of our own end," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We weren't supporting each other at all and we were turning the puck over way too many times."

The Senators' loss was greased by the recurring problem of penalty trouble late in the first. The Senators were leading 2-0 then, thanks to Smolinski's ninth goal and his assist on rookie Patrick Eaves' 10th.

But has often been the case this year for the Senators, the second-most penalized team in the league, penalties got them in trouble.

Late in the first period, Ottawa's top defensive duo, Zdeno Chara and Chris Phillips, were whistled off within a minute of each other -- Phillips for tripping and Chara for hooking, handing the Ducks a 5-on-3.

Twenty-four seconds into the second, Kunitz, maybe the best player on the ice, scored on the Ducks' fourth whack around the net to make it 2-1.

"If they killed that (5-on-3)," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, "then maybe the momentum stays with them. That got us back in the game. At one point we were down 2-0 and we had outchanced them 7-2."

Anaheim's ageless Teemu Selanne tied it at 8:20 off a broken play. Less than two minutes later, the Ducks took the lead as Hasek made two big saves before Todd Marchant was alone in the slot to lift a backhander into the top half of the net.

Senators centre Jason Spezza, who had missed 12-of-13 games with a pulled chest muscle, returned and looked understandably rusty. He started on a line with Dany Heatley and Chris Neil, but was later reunited with Heatley and Alfredsson.

"Hasek was the reason we were able to get a point out of this," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "I think we had the chances at 13-3 (for Anaheim) in the second period. "


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