SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Martin Gerber deserved better.
But as the San Jose Sharks celebrated their 3-2 overtime victory thanks to Patrick Marleau's winner at 3:05, all the Senators goalie and a frustrated group of players could do was head for the exits.
While the Senators received a strong effort from Gerber and a two goals from centre Jason Spezza, the club still fell to 1-7 this season without captain Daniel Alfredsson in the lineup. He missed the game with muscle spasms in his back.
"A team that has confidence would be better with a 2-1 lead," said Spezaa. "We just weren't able to hold it. It's disappointing because we should have had the win."
Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray has put his faith in Gerber this week and gotten strong performances in each of his last three games, including 27 saves in regulation against the Sharks.
Murray confirmed that Gerber will start against the L.A. Kings tonight.
"Martin Gerber gave us a chance to win the hockey game. I thought he played really well," said Murray.
"You have that kind of lead and you should be able to bring it home. That's disappointing," said Gerber.
It looked like the Senators might escape with two points after Spezza scored on a power play, tipping a shot by Cory Stillman from the point at 12:50 of the third. But at 17:16, San Jose winger Jonathan Cheechoo tipped a perfect pass from Joe Thornton by Gerber high on the glove side at 17:16 to send it to overtime.
With Alfredsson out, Murray was forced to juggle the lines. Centre Chris Kelly moved onto the right side of Spezza and Heatley, while Fisher centred Antoine Vermette and Stillman. Unfortunately, it didn't result in much more offence.
Before the game, San Jose coach Ron Wilson warned reporters that teams in the Western Conference play a more tight-checking, defensive style and this one lived up to that billing because the Sharks just shut the door, especially late in the game.
Gerber wasn't tested a lot early by the Sharks because this was one of the Senators' better defensive efforts.
Spezza finally broke the scoreless tie at 11:23 of the second with his 26th goal of the season. Taking a nifty pass from Heatley down low, Spezza fired it over top of a sprawling Evgeni Nabokov.
Up to the point Spezza gave the club the lead, the Senators had limited the Sharks' scoring chances and when San Jose did have opportunities, Gerber made the save.
One of Gerber's best stops of the night was on a tip by Cheechoo into his glove with five minutes left in the second.
On the power play in the final minute of the second, Marleau hit the post.
However, the Sharks tied the game 1-1 early in the third when Patrick Marleau scored on the power play. With only two seconds left in Mike Fisher's hooking infraction, Marleau took a pass in the slot from Brian Campbell and fired a zinger by Gerber high on the glove side.
"I thought we played well defensively and we did a good job shutting down a strong team," said Murray. "We had a broken stick (by Mike Fisher) in overtime and that really hurt us. I thought we played a solid game. We just weren't able to hold the lead."
The Senators packed up quickly and took a one-hour flight to Los Angeles immediately after the game for match three of their four-game western road trip. The Senators lost 3-1 in Anaheim Monday night.
They face the Kings tonight at the Staples Center, with a 10:30 p.m. puck drop.