Just giving it away

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

On Easter weekend, the Senators laid an egg and allowed the Toronto Maple Leafs to resurrect their playoff hopes.

The Senators had a chance to stick a dagger in the Leafs and their slim post-season chances, but they are very much alive today after Ottawa dropped a stunning 5-4 decision to their provincial rivals last night at Scotiabank Place.

While this night was supposed to be about redemption for the Senators -- who were hammered 5-0 by the Leafs in their previous meeting, Feb. 25 in Ottawa -- it was the Leafs who had the last laugh after erasing a two-goal deficit for the win.

'REALLY FRUSTRATING'

Captain Daniel Alfredsson, along with wingers Dany Heatley, Martin Lapointe and Cory Stillman, scored for the Senators who have lost four straight against the Leafs with one left on the schedule on April 3. The Senators won the first three in the season series.

"It's really frustrating," said Ottawa centre Mike Fisher, shaking his head after last night's loss. "We had opportunities. We just kind of gave it to them. We made some mistakes. We can't be doing that at this time of year.

"Up until then, we had a pretty good first period and it was a pretty intense game.

To lose like that, is really frustrating."

Goaltender Martin Gerber wasn't completely to blame for this meltdown, but making his 10th consecutive start he wasn't sharp and, suddenly, backup Ray Emery is a candidate to start tomorrow against the Montreal Canadiens.

"When you give up five goals, you're not always happy. I thought there was some rebounds, but for the most part there was lots of traffic at the net as well. They had (34 shots) and I thought a couple of the goals were good goals. One of them was a rebound," said Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray.

Battling for playoff position, the Senators can't afford to be giving away points. They had a chance to tie it up in the dying seconds, but Heatley's opportunity went off the post and allowed the Leafs to get out with a victory.

"We've been better lately in the third period and it's out of our character to blow the lead," said Senators centre Jason Spezza.

"We dominated after (the Leafs took the lead) but it was too little, too late. It was frustrating we weren't able to get it done. We worked so hard to get the lead. It's just disappointing, especially when points aren't easy to get at this time of year."

KELLY GOES DOWN

After getting Chris Neil back from a knee injury, the Senators took another hit when centre Chris Kelly had to be carried to the dressing room with a left foot injury in the first period after a blocking a shot by Toronto defenceman Pavel Kubina. Kelly's status will be determined today.

The Senators allowed four

unanswered goals after taking a 4-1 lead. Toronto's Matt Stajan scored what turned out to be the winner at 2:14 of the third on an odd-man rush. Jiri Tlusty's goal at 1:33 tie it

4-4 was the result of a bad give away.

Just when it was looking grim after the Leafs pulled out to a 2-1 lead on Alex Steen's goal at 12:39 of the second period, the Senators struck for three goals in a span of 2:27

to take a 4-3 lead into the third.

"We gave them turnovers for three goals, which is really disappointing," said Murray. "That's all we've worked on: Getting the puck out of our own end and then we turn around in the third period and the two goals they get are direct passes to one of their players."


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