Senators 'too soft'

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Craig Hartsburg couldn't hide his anger or disappointment.

As the Senators coach emerged from the dressing room a few minutes after the 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins last night at Scotiabank Place, he wore a look of disgust on his face and he couldn't hide his displeasure in a post-game press conference.

Hartsburg can handle the odd loss or two, but he didn't like the way last night's defeat to a division opponent unfolded -- with the Senators giving a lacklustre effort to allow the Bruins to head home with the two points in Ottawa's first game against a Northeast Division foe this season.

"I don't think we played a really competitive 60 minutes," said Hartsburg. "We competed in spurts, but you're not going to beat teams in this league unless you compete for 60 minutes. We were too soft on the puck and it cost us goals.

WORK HARDER

"I thought our third period was the best period. Again, we've got to be able to do it for 60 minutes. There's got to be pride to win battles and we lost too many. We're going to have get stronger. I don't know the theory behind it, but we've got to work harder to get the puck in a better place."

While Nick Foligno and captain Daniel Alfredsson (playing his second straight game after returning from knee surgery Friday) scored for the Senators, it wasn't enough to stop the Bruins, who got two goals from Phil Kessel and a three-assist performance from Marc Savard.

The Senators know they have to be better and more consistent.

The Bruins are always a tough opponent and the players were frustrated by the fact that every time they made a mistake, it landed in Ottawa's net.

"You look at us in the third period and we're in there battling and we're winning the battles," said Spezza. "We controlled the play in the third and we've got to do that for 60 minutes. (Hartsburg's) been preaching the whole time we've got to be a hard-working team. We've got lots of skill, but if we can be a hard-working team, we'll be a lot better."

The biggest surprise of the night may have been Boston coach Claude Julien's decision to start goalie Manny Fernandez ahead of Senators killer Tim Thomas.

Thomas had a 4-1-1 record against the Senators with a minuscule .99 goals-against average.

The decision didn't make any difference. The Senators weren't able to get much by Fernandez with their 23 shots. It was a tough game with a lot of hard hitting, but the Senators struggled to find consistency at both ends of the ice.

"I don't think we were very consistent and we definitely didn't win enough battles," said Alfredsson, who scored his first of the season at 15:40 of the second to cut the Bruins lead to 3-2 going into the third.

With Blake Wheeler serving a goaltender interference penalty, Alfredsson took a pass in the slot and fired a bullet by Fernandez with Spezza creating traffic in front to give the Senators a fighting chance to get back into the game going into the third.

Before Alfredsson's goal, the Senators had to rely on Martin Gerber, making his second start in as many nights, to come up with big stops.

The Bruins looked like they wanted it more. They caused turnovers and beat the Senators to loose pucks.

"You can't blame (Gerber)," said Hartsburg. "There was mistakes on every goal."


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