The Senators looked like they were all using the same alarm clock as Ray Emery.
By the time the Senators finally came to life last night -- when Mike Fisher scored his first career hat trick in the third period -- it was too late to save the club from an ugly 8-6 loss to the Washington Capitals in front of 20,294 at Scotiabank Place.
Daniel Alfredsson scored two and Jason Spezza added the other.
The Senators should be embarrassed -- the score was flattering considering their effort through 40 minutes.
"We couldn't play with the puck even strength," said coach John Paddock. "We couldn't pass the puck out of our zone, we couldn't pass on the power play or in the neutral zone. We couldn't play with the puck ... Ridiculous."
Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin led the charge with a career-high four goals and an assist while Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin also had three-point efforts.
The Senators didn't look like they showed any respect for their opponents until the third.
GERBER LEFT IN
The finger will be pointed at goalie Martin Gerber -- who remained in the net the whole game after Emery missed practice Friday -- but he is only one of the culprits who has to accept the blame.
The Senators came to life in the third after trailing 5-2. Spezza extended his scoring streak to 10 games and then Fisher scored twice -- including shorthanded -- as the Captials tried to choke it away until Ovechkin completed his four-goal effort.
"(Ovechkin) amazes me," said coach Bruce Boudreau.
Alfredsson's second of the night came on a penalty shot at 10:06 of the second. After being pulled down by Caps defenceman Mike Green on a breakaway, Alfredsson beat Olaf Kolzig with a backhand.
It was only the club's seventh shot of the game.
You knew this game was going to be difficult when Semin knocked the puck away from Chris Phillips behind the net and beat a sprawling Gerber stick-side only 1:01 into the first period.
It didn't get a lot better.
The Senators had only two shots in the first period and neither came at even strength. Kolzig didn't get any work until 11:34 of the first when Wade Redden finally got a puck through.
Even the goal at 12:13 of the first credited to Alfredsson wasn't really a shot. It was essentially a pass that bounced off David Steckel's stick and Tom Poti's glove to beat Kolzig, but it counted as a shot.
The officials had to go upstairs before awarding Alfredsson with his 23rd of the season. They wanted to make sure that Fisher hadn't touched it with what appeared to be a high stick.
"It's frustrating and disappointing," Fisher said of the Senators' effort. "It didn't look like our hockey team for most of the game. We got better, but it was pretty bad."
This was the Senators' second straight loss to the Caps this season. The bad news for the Senators is they have to travel to Washington tomorrow to ring in 2008 with a New Year's Day game at 4 p.m.