BOSTON -- The message from Senators coach Bryan Murray last night was simple: Make this road trip a success.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Senators didn't follow the lead of winger Chris Neil, who had a two-goal performance in a 4-3 loss to the Bruins last night at TD Banknorth Garden.
Instead of coming home flying with confidence, the Senators trudged into Ottawa last night with only three of a possible eight points on this four-game swing.
Jason Spezza also scored for the Senators, who have lost six of their last seven against the Bruins.
" We give up goals so easily," said Murray. "The third (Boston) goal and the fourth goal (were off) a turnover.
"It seems like every time we shoot the puck it seems to hit (Tim) Thomas. The last game in here (a 2-1 loss) two weeks ago was the same thing. I just don't know what happens."
Patrice Bergeron deflected a Brad Stuart shot by Martin Gerber at 13:42 of the third to erase what had been a strong performance by Neil, who had been praised earlier in the day by Murray as the club's most consistent player.
Neil, who had a two-point performance Friday in a 6-3 win against the Penguins, erased a two-goal deficit by tipping a shot from the point past Thomas at 1:25 of the third to tie it 3-3 just when Ottawa's chances of winning looked grim.
"It's tough. We come out in the third and we want to carry the momentum we built up in the second," said Neil. "We just weren't able to do it."
Struggling to get back on track, Gerber looked horrible on Glen Murray's second goal of the game (and 300th of his career) to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead at 17:24 of the second.
Moving down the wing, Murray fired a shot from the circle that hit the inside of Gerber's stick and bounced in.
LACK OF CONFIDENCE
Gerber just doesn't look like he has any confidence and there's no question the players in front of him are having a tough time as well. Backup Ray Emery skated again yesterday to test his injured forearm and there's a chance he could be ready to play the Habs tomorrow night.
Neil redeemed himself for an earlier double minor just before the period ended. He backhanded a shot past Thomas to pull the club to within 3-2 at 19:07 of the second.
All this came after Neil put the Senators in a tough spot midway through the second when he was assessed four minutes in penalties that under former coach Jacques Martin would have had him glued to the bench the rest of the night.
After being sent to the box for interference, along with defenceman Andrej Meszaros who had been called for holding, Neil clapped his hands in the direction of the official and that cost him another two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Senators' power play, which still has its share of issues, continued to struggle, going 1-for-7, although Spezza opened the scoring in the second at 4:46 with the man advantage.