Hurricanes blow away Senators

Andrew Alberts (41) of the Carolina Hurricanes and Mike Fisher of the Ottawa Senators fight for the...

Andrew Alberts (41) of the Carolina Hurricanes and Mike Fisher of the Ottawa Senators fight for the puck during the first period of their NHL game at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N. C. on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Scott Pilling, QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. — First, Cam Ward shut the door on the Senators.

Then, they shut the door themselves.

After suffering their fourth straight defeat in a 4-1 loss to the last-place Hurricanes at the RBC Center last night, the Senators held a 10-minute players-only closed-door meeting to discuss what’s gone wrong as they opened a five-game road trip.

“It’s important (to talk) when things aren’t going well,” said Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips. “It’s no fun not winning and we’re just hanging on to a playoff spot now. It’s not going to get any easier. We’ve got teams out (of a playoff spot) looking in now that are going to raise their level of play to get in and we have to do that was well.”

Coming off a 3-0 shutout loss at home on Saturday against the Panthers, the Senators’ scoring difficulties continued as only centre Chris Kelly was able to beat Ward, who made 31 saves. Ottawa fell to 6-12-1 on the road this season.

Missing forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Jesse Winchester, along with defenceman Filip Kuba, the Senators couldn’t fault goalie Pascal Leclaire, who was beaten by Rod Brind’Amour, Eric Staal, Tom Kostopoulos and Brett Carson.

“It’s frustrating. We’re having a tough time getting goals. We have things we definitely have to work at,” said Senators centre Mike Fisher. “We have to start playing more as a team and getting quality scoring chances and we’re just not doing that right now.

“It’s not like guys aren’t trying. We’ve got to be better as a group and as a team. I’ve got to be better myself and start leading the way and regroup.”

The Senators probably deserved a better fate after outshooting and outplaying the Hurricanes through 40 minutes, but Ward was strong and made 21 stops (including 16 in the first).

A late goal by Brind’Amour on a shot from the point gave Carolina the 2-1 lead going into the third period.

Leclaire, who was given Saturday off in favour of backup Brian Elliott, had to make some big stops. His best was on Carolina defenceman Joni Pitkanen early in the second on a shot from the point, but it was Ward who was making life frustrating for Ottawa.

Trying to get the offence going, coach Cory Clouston put centre Peter Regin between Ryan Shannon and Alex Kovalev, while Fisher centred Nick Foligno and Chris Neil.

“To me the difference was Ward,” said Clouston. “It should have been 2 or 3-0 after the first half of that game. Obviously, we’re having trouble scoring. He was the difference.

“We’re working hard. Right now, it seems what can go wrong is going wrong. We’ve just got to suck it up and move forward. We’re just not finishing. That’s the bottom line. I can’t ask for the guys to work harder. It just seems right now we’re not getting any puck luck.”

The road trip continues tomorrow in Atlanta. Game time is 7 p.m.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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