|Carolina Hurricanes' Cam Ward and Ottawa Senators' Mike Fisher watch the puck fly between them. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)
OTTAWA - Those fragile Senators were unable to overcome unfortunate bounces in the first game without their broken, top-scoring centre.
Please, that better not be a look of shock on your face.
Minus Jason Spezza, the 4-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at a sold-out (thanks to the holiday season) Scotiabank Place leaves Ottawa in sole possession of 10th place with back-to-back games coming up Friday and Saturday against Columbus (there) and Toronto (here).
It’s the fifth time (already) the Senators have been shut out this season. Embarrassingly, all five of the eggs they’ve laid on home ice.
“I thought (Cam) Ward was the difference (Wednesday),” Senators coach Cory Clouston said of the Carolina goalie. “When we beat him, we couldn’t beat the post. I think we had four or five posts or crossbars, a couple of missed open nets, and that was the difference in the game.”
Clouston said his own goalie, Brian Elliott, “struggled.” He was being kind.
“Obviously the first one, the wraparound, was a tough one to give up,” said Clouston. “The second one he just slipped. His right leg just kind of slipped out on him and he almost fell forward. That’s a tough one. The third one, obviously, a rebound, and the fourth one was a bad angle.
“Sometimes those things happen, but you’ve got to score a goal. You can’t win a game without scoring a goal. So by no means are we just going to put it on Brian.”
Elliott shrugged off his poor performance, like he didn’t think it was all that bad.
“It’s a game of inches,” he said. “A couple off our own guys, bad breaks. Obviously the first one I want back, but you’ve got to look forward. I still feel pretty good about my game. It’s not something I’m worried about.”
Playing a second game in two nights for the 11th time this season didn’t bother the Hurricanes, who, following their 4-3 victory over the Leafs at the ACC Tuesday, should have been out-energized by the Senators.
Instead, the score at the end of the first period was Zach Boychuk 2, Ottawa 0. Familiar defensive zone breakdowns helped Boychuk to his first two goals of the season.
“It wasn’t a good enough effort to win a game, that’s for sure,” said Mike Fisher. “We just didn’t bury when we had opportunities, and we gave up too many easy goals.”
The Senators gained momentum by killing off penalties to Ryan Shannon and Mike Fisher in the second period, but they could not buy themselves a break. Chris Kelly made a nice move on Cam Ward, only to hit the goal post with a empty net staring at him. Chris Campoli also rang one off metal with a slap shot from the left point.
The Senators fell behind 3-0 before the second intermission courtesy of a flukey goal by Erik Cole. The deficit grew to four when Elliott went down too soon and gave up a soft wrist shot by Patrick Dwyer at 4:32 of the third.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who missed an open net on the team’s first-period power play. “We start well and miss a couple of great chances.
“The problem is when we get behind, we open ourselves up, and they get a lot of time in the neutral zone, a lot of chances, and we don’t make the most of the chances we have, that’s for sure.”