Mistakes killing Senators

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Looking to spread their attack, the Senators forgot the old adage about the best offence being a good defence.

And last night, theirs was lousy.

It's not so much that they gave up a ton of shots to the New Jersey Devils, as Dominik Hasek saw just 30 pucks at the Continental Airlines Arena. But bad bounces and bad play inside their own blue line added up to the Senators' second straight loss, this one by a 5-3 count.

The Sens have been outscored 10-3 in the two games since the easiest shutout of Hasek's career.

"We made too many mistakes," said Hasek. "I don't know why. There were a few bad goals, but it happens when you don't do exactly what you're supposed to do.

"When you give up 10 goals and score only three, something's wrong. We have to figure it out fast because we have a game (tonight)."

The Senators' three-game road trip continues tonight in Pittsburgh.

Last night, only some good saves by Hasek and the Devils' Martin Brodeur kept the score to 3-1 in favour of New Jersey after one period.

An early Ottawa breakdown allowed the Devils to snap the longest goal-scoring drought in team history at 1:54.06. What should have been a simple Zdeno Chara pass behind the net to Chris Phillips wound up in enemy hands -- it appeared as though Phillips didn't get any or enough of the puck to clear it and Mike Fisher, playing a rare game at left wing, left the zone too early. A Sergei Brylin to Zach Parise pass landed behind Hasek. The sloppiness would be a sign of things to come. New Jersey got goals by Grant Marshall and Jamie Langenbrunner before Ottawa scored.

"They outworked us early and it's hard to come back from a three-goal (deficit) in this league," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "New Jersey has some good players, and they outplayed our good players.

"We gave up careless goals at times," added Murray, who thought Hasek played very well while Brodeur didn't have to face as many tough chances.

"Some of those are just working goals."

In the meantime, breaking up the line of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley to balance the offence had an interesting effect. Ottawa's best line on the night wound up being its fourth, which had Antoine Vermette and Patrick Eaves as its mainstays and often included Brian McGrattan.

With Ottawa's first goal, Vermette became the ninth Senator to reach the 10-goal plateau this season.

Heatley brought Ottawa to within one at 7:44 of the second.

The backbreaker for the Senators came with McGrattan serving a double minor. After another New Jersey goal, Eaves scored.

"We're making mistakes, I don't know if it's fatigue or what," said Alfredsson. "But we have to fight through it."

Said Heatley: "I thought we played in spurts. But in the last two games we've made two or three mistakes and (the other team) is capitalizing on them."


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