Stinky in Beantown

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

BOSTON -- The Senators tossed John Paddock an anchor instead of a life jacket last night.

Hours after the passing of the NHL trade deadline, Ottawa turned in another heartless performance against the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden. The 4-0 loss was the Senators sixth in eight games and 14th in their last 21 outings.

Darkening the picture further was news late yesterday afternoon that robust veteran winger Chris Neil is expected to be out until April with a torn MCL in his right knee.

"It's very frustrating, to not create much," said Paddock. "I thought we had a decent start, but we turned the puck over a couple of times and they scored on both. Obviously, we never came out of the hole.

"We're deep into frustration."

The Senators have barely shown a pulse since their comeback win in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Last night marked their first back-to-back shutout losses since 2000.

"We have to move the puck better," said Paddock. "And we're not winning many battles."

The Senators are looking like first-round playoff fodder -- assuming that they hang on and qualify for the post-season tournament. Crazy talk? Don't think so. They have a nine-point cushion now, but the air is seeping out.

There is growing speculation that Paddock will be replaced behind the bench by GM Bryan Murray, who took the team to the Stanley Cup final last season.

Such a move could be made as early as today, as Murray does have some spare time on his hands now that the deadline has come and gone.

Murray is flying to Philadelphia to meet the team today.

'IN THIS TOGETHER'

"We're all in this together," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "You can't look at what ifs. We've got to go out and do the best we can. You can't say, we'll lose a few, the coach will lose his job, then we'll be fine again. We definitely believe in John and what he has done for us this year. Right now, we're just not playing well as a team and it makes everybody look bad.

"It's always up to the players. The coaches give us a chance to succeed .... we're in this thing together ... everybody is looking bad."

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas faced just 22 shots -- only 10 of which came in the final 40 minutes.

The Senators' best chance came on a second period power play, when Alfredsson fired a shot to an open side that was spectacularly snared by Thomas.

Martin Gerber, who faced 29 shots, termed the night "definitely disappointing."

The slumping Senators include Mike Fisher, who has zero points in nine games, Alfredsson (zero in eight) and Dany Heatley (three in eight).

The Ottawa power play is now on a 1-for-28 slide.

Said Alfredsson: "We're giving up goals too easy. We can't get the lead, and when we get behind we don't have our confidence. We're searching. It's frustrating for everybody."

The Senators fell behind 2-0 in the first period on even strength goals by Shawn Thornton and David Krejci.

Former Senators star Zdeno Chara scored a power-play goal in the second and added a late empty-netter.


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