Senators fall in Quick sand

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

New coach, same old story for the Senators.

Cory Clouston got a firsthand look behind the bench at the nightmare Craig Hartsburg lived for 48 games as the Senators lost 1-0 to the Kings in front of 18,054 at Scotiabank Place last night.

The Senators played with more energy in Clouston's debut, but that didn't spark the offence. And it wasn't enough to stop Jonathan Quick from making 29 saves, handing the Senators their sixth shutout of the season.

Michal Handzus scored the winner with 2:39 left in the third, spoiling Clouston's debut.

"I'm disappointed in the outcome," the new coach said. "(But) as the game progressed, we did a lot of good things and I thought we played as a team for the most part. That's a tough goal to give up to lose the game.

"Obviously, our guys are still fighting the stick to create some offensive opportunities and then we weren't able to bury our chances. I think there's still a lot of positives.

"I'm happy we lost? Not a chance ... We still have to move forward and take some of the positives out of this game. Hopefully, we'll have a little more puck luck."

PRAISES BIG 3

Clouston resisted the temptation to break up the top line of Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson. Clouston praised the top trio as "one of the best lines in the league" following the morning skate.

But like they have been all season, the Senators were plagued offensively.

Heatley had his best chance with six minutes left in the second when Sean O'Donnell handed him the puck in the slot and he hit the post on Quick's stick side.

While Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov were reunited on the blue line, the biggest difference was on the power play.

Winger Nick Foligno played on the left side of Spezza and Alfredsson, while Mike Fisher played the point with Filip Kuba. That lasted until the third, when Heatley returned to the power play.

It didn't matter as the Senators went 0-5 with the man advantage.

"We played pretty well," said Spezza. "We created a lot of chances. We created a lot more 5-on-5 than we have. It's unfortunate we don't win that game. We really wanted to win that game.

"It's going to be a learning process here for a couple of weeks to see the changes (Clouston) wants to make. We want to turn this around quick. We made some strides."

Just not enough strides as the playoffs get further away.

"We've dug ourselves a really big hole. I don't want to say we have nothing to lose," said Phillips. "We just don't leave anything out there. I thought we did that and it's disappointing not to get a point."

It was no surprise Brian Elliott started in the Senators net, despite allowing four goals on 16 shots to the Capitals on Sunday in Hartsburg's final game.

Elliott is nevertheless the Senators' goalie of the future and he's won for Clouston in Binghamton.

"We were aggressive and we got some chances that we should have buried," said Elliott, who made 25 stops last night. "We played pretty well for the most part. We're not going to win many games scoring no goals."

It doesn't get any easier for Clouston with the first-place Bruins in town tomorrow. Game time is 7 p.m.


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