Sens' dream takes 'Caning

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Senators were rudely awakened from their dream run last night at the RBC Center.

Starting their final 10-game stretch in one last-gasp effort to make the playoffs, the Senators' post-season hopes are now on life support after Anton Babchuk's power-play goal with 6:01 left in the third period vaulted the Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory over Ottawa.

Not only did the Senators' five-game winning streak come to an end -- only Ryan Shannon was able to solve Carolina netminder Cam Ward, who made 21 stops to secure the victory -- but Brian Elliott's consecutive victories streak was also halted at a franchise-record eight games.

"It doesn't change anything for us. We've just got to keep going and prepare for the next game," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We've known the situation that we're in for a long time, so it doesn't change anything for us the way we prepare or the way we go about things.

ONLY NINE GAMES LEFT

"It was a tight game. It wasn't a great game for us. (Elliott) played really well. We couldn't generate enough offensively and we didn't draw enough penalties. It's frustrating because we did get the lead and they got it back pretty quickly. We can play better than we did (last night)."

What it means is the Senators remain nine points back of the Canadiens for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with only nine games to go.

Babchuk scored the winner with centre Mike Fisher in the penalty box for tripping.

"It's a penalty. I'm going for the puck. It's one of those things where it's a reaction and I didn't mean to do it. If you do it, it's a penalty and they had to call it. It was bad timing and it's unfortunate," said Fisher. "We know the situation we're in and we haven't tried to look too far ahead. We've stuck together and we stuck to what we had to do to be successful. We've done a good job lately, but (this game) was unfortunate for us."

Shannon, who scored the winner in Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Rangers, had another big goal with his sixth of the season last night. He scored the game's first goal at 1:16 of the first when he beat Ward with a backhand after he picked up a loose puck in front of the net.

Rod Brind'Amour tied the game two minutes later with a wrist shot that beat Elliott between the legs.

"Special teams. They had (a power-play goal). We can't have that happening and give them chances like that. We just have to get better," said Elliott, who made 28 stops.

While last night's matchup was a battle between two of the NHL's hottest teams, there sure wasn't a lot in the way of firepower. Elliott and Ward both came up with big stops through the first 40 minutes, but there were few scoring chances.

'ONE MISTAKE'

"It was a very tight game. They pressured us in spurts. I thought there were times we were able to maintain some pressure and the power-play goal at the end was the difference," said Ottawa coach Cory Clouston. "It's a tough call to take (on Fisher). It was a tight, close-checking game.

"One mistake was the difference. We just didn't seem real sharp. Neither team was dominant. It was kind of like a chess match a little bit. They're a good team. They were better than us, overall."

The Senators travel to Atlanta to face the Thrashers on Saturday.


Videos

Photos