Captain calls out Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Daniel Alfredsson took matters into his own hands last night.

With the possibility of changes on the way, the Senators captain called a players' only meeting to try to find answers after the club dropped its second straight game to the lowly Islanders and its fourth in a row overall -- this time an abysmal 3-2 defeat to the Islanders at the Nassau County Coliseum.

While Alfredsson put on a brave face and reinforced his "belief in this team," that might not be good enough for Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who isn't spending more than $50 million US to watch his team miss the playoffs.

The belief now is Ottawa GM Bryan Murray will push even harder to complete a deal.

To add injury to insult, the Senators had to finish the game without winger Chris Neil, who suffered a right leg injury when he fell to the ice just before a first-period fight with Islander Tim Jackman.

"It's pro sports. If you don't perform you're going to get evaluated pretty much every night," said Alfredsson. "That goes for coaches, managers and it trickles down in order. We can't worry about what could happen. We just have to worry about what's next. We did a lot of good things, but it's still not good enough. I believe in this team, there's no question.

"We talked. We've got to be better in certain areas. We had our chances and didn't score. We're working so hard at times and we just aren't able to score. We just have to put the puck in the net to give the whole team a little bit of a boost here."

If the Senators want to pinpoint their problems, they need look no further than their inability to score. The Senators have scored just four goals during their four-game losing streak, rank last in the NHL in even-strength goals with 20 and even the power play has gone south.

While coach Craig Hartsburg reunited the trio of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Alfredsson in the third period, they haven't been able to score consistently, either. While Heatley and Spezza scored in the third period, it wasn't enough as the Isles had already built up a 3-0 lead.

"We did a lot of good things and the puck didn't go in the net. That's the way things seem to be for us. We make one mistake and we pay a price for it," said defenceman Chris Phillips. "We've got to find a way to work through that and capitalize on our chances."

The Senators got off to the strong start they wanted to against the Isles, but couldn't get anything by New York goalie Joey MacDonald, who made 38 saves, early on.

Bad errors in their own zone have led to goals on Alex Auld lately and last night was no different.

Jon Sim gave the Isles a 2-0 lead at 9:54 of the second period on the power play when he picked up a rebound uncontested by any Senator in front and tapped it by Auld, who suffered his third straight loss.

Hartsburg is clearly frustrated.

"The simple answer is work your way through it. It's a simple question and a simple answer," said Hartsburg. "There's no easy way out of it and we're going to have to outwork a team for 60 minutes to get out of it.

"When you're struggling you've got to play a 60-minute game to get out of it and we didn't play a full 60 minutes."


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