Senators Nash and burn

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Martin Gerber smashed his stick against the post, shook his head, then bent low as he backed almost to the mesh of his cage.

If only one three-second video clip could be used to aptly capture the Senators' 6-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in front of 15,797 fans at Nationwide Arena last night, that would have to be it.

While those wearing the same colour jersey as he were at fault for their undisciplined play and failure to generate offence, Gerber deserved much of the blame for Ottawa's third straight loss.

When they needed him to provide steady goaltending, he could not. Again.

"I felt good the last little while," Gerber said afterward. "(Last night), it didn't go the way it had to. That's history."

So was he, before the game was half over.

MERCIFULLY PULLED

Gerber was mercifully removed and replaced by Ray Emery at the 7:17 mark of the second period, after giving up the fourth goal on the 13th shot he had faced.

The good news? On only two of those goals did Gerber look absolutely brutal.

Early in the first he was caught behind the net floundering like a fish out of water, misplaying a puck as it squirted out front to leave Rick Nash with a gift goal.

Nash made it 2-0 before the period ended on a legitimate goal, intercepting a pass intended for Fredrik Modin and neatly backhanding it in the corner.

But Gerber was on his knees and in his crease too deep when Dan Fritsche beat him on the short side with a harmless-looking wrist shot to make it 3-0 before the three-minute mark of the middle frame.

"The third goal ... you have to get that one," said coach Bryan Murray.

On the last shot to beat him -- a power-play offering from pointman Ron Hainsey -- Gerber was screened by Anson Carter. But by that point, such tactics were probably unnecessary.

Another by Fritsche just 4:05 later was the second during a five-minute checking from behind major (that came with a game misconduct) to Andrej Meszaros for a hit on Alexandre Picard.

Fritsche's second was also the franchise record fifth power-play goal of the night for the Blue Jackets.

That doesn't bode well for Ottawa penalty killers as the team now heads off to Detroit for a game tomorrow.

On Saturday, the Red Wings scored five power play goals in beating the Maple Leafs 5-1.

"The guys bitched and moaned about the officiating from the bench, there was a half-dozen calls they didn't agree with," said Murray. "But you can't do that.

"They scored when they got their opportunities, and their defence moved the puck much better than our defence did."

The Senators, it appears, are still paying the price for Peter Schaefer's towel-waving objection to the referee's work in Washington last Wednesday.

While Columbus had 11 power-play opportunities, they only had six.

"The guys are just getting frustrated," said acting captain Chris Phillips. "Unfortunately, that's not going to change the calls, especially with what happened in the last couple of games. They're not going to be easy on us ... it's something we have to be aware of and smarter about."

The Senators chased Columbus' starting goalie, too. Well, sort of. Pascal Leclaire had stopped 17-of-17 shots through 14:47 of the second when he was unable to get back on his feet after sliding sideways on a Jason Spezza-Dany Heatley 2-on-1. He was replaced by Fredrick Norrena, a 33-year-old rookie who was coming off three straight wins in which he allowed a total of just one goal.

Before leaving, Leclaire survived three in-alone chances by Schaefer.

The first was on a first-period, short-handed breakaway opportunity with which Schaefer missed the net high. The second was another middle-period breakaway that Leclaire stopped, just after Schaefer was slashed by Hainsey. Schaefer was awarded a penalty shot on the play, and in going wide right to come across the front of the net only to leave it the short side corner, Schaefer missed the mark again.

"You have to put one of those in, anyway," said Murray.

The Senators got to Norrena in the third. Christoph Schubert blasted a Spezza feed into the back of the net on the power play at the 6:53 mark, then drilled another point shot that Mike Fisher tipped between Norrena's legs at 11:52. But Manny Malhotra took one back for the Jackets, finishing off a 2-on-1 after Jason Chimera slipped behind Joe Corvo.


Videos

Photos