Heartbreaking loss for Lee

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

It was an interesting 24 hours for Brian Lee.

The Senators rookie defenceman went from the high of scoring the winning goal that snapped the Senators' 12-game road losing streak Tuesday in Edmonton -- his first NHL goal -- to watching Team USA lose to Canada at the world junior championship the next night.

"I watched all of it. I was heartbroken," said the 21-year-old native of Moorhead, Minn., and a three-time member of the American junior team (2005-06-07). The 2007 team lost a heartbreaker to Canada in that memorable shootout in the semi-final in Sweden. Canada went on to win the gold and the USA the bronze. Canada beat the USA in the semi-final again last year on its way to a fourth-straight gold.

"(Wednesday's game) was a great game for both sides and hopefully they'll get a rematch. It was one of the best games I've ever seen. It was back and forth, great saves, great goals. I thought (the Americans) had them," said Lee, who went from being called up from Binghamton of the AHL to topping 20 minutes a night the last three games in the top pairing with veteran Chris Phillips. "Canada has a great power play and they got a few bounces here and there. It was anybody's game down to the wire. Hopefully the USA will get another shot at them."

Lee paused. "I don't know if you want to write that. The people here will want to kill me," he said.

Not at all. Nothing wrong with rooting for your country, Brian.

Senators fans will be rooting for the club to win back-to-back games on the road for just the second time this season when they face the Leafs in Toronto tomorrow night. The Senators have been pathetic on the road this year with just four wins, the fewest in the league. Lee's goal on the power play for a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers released some of the pressure on a Senators team that had been playing like a team waiting for something to happen, somebody to be traded or somebody to be fired.

One win only eases the pressure until the next game. The Senators were 10 points out of the last playoff spot going into last night's action. If you figure they need something like 94 points to make the playoffs, they will need to earn 63 points out of the 47 games remaining on their schedule, a challenge which, given the way this team is playing right now, certainly exceeds its grasp.

The Senators went through an energetic practice at a chilly Bell Sensplex yesterday, having been ousted from their dressing room at Scotiabank Place by junior Team Canada. The kids have given area hockey fans a winning team for which to cheer as the Senators closed out 2008 with a 31-43-9 record (including playoff games) in the 83 games they played in the calendar year.

"Right now it's probably good for us to fly under the radar for a day or two," said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and winger Chris Neil did not skate yesterday, but it was just to rest, said Hartsburg, and they are expected to be at their posts tomorrow night. Defenceman Anton Volchenkov, who missed the western swing with an upper body injury, and forward Jesse Winchester, out for the last six games, also skated and could play.

Hartsburg said he is leaning towards giving goaltender Martin Gerber his third-straight start tomorrow night.


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