Isles sink struggling Sens in OT

Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza (in red) is knocked down in front of New York Islanders goalie Evgeni...

Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza (in red) is knocked down in front of New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov, captain Mark Streit (L) and Steve Staios (R) during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Ottawa February 3, 2012. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:13 AM ET

OTTAWA - The Senators couldn’t stop the bleeding Friday night with the Battle of Ontario looming.

Playing at Scotiabank Place for the first time since Jan. 12, the Senators saw their losing skid reach five games after defenceman Mark Eaton scored his first goal since Nov. 28, 2009, to give the New York Islanders a 2-1 overtime victory.

The 18,252 went home in stunned silence as Eaton, left alone in front of the net, beat goalie Craig Anderson with a backhander at 2:35, in his 600th career game.

It capped another disappointing effort for the Senators, who now find themselves in a precarious position to make the playoffs. They are sixth in the Eastern Conference, five points up on ninth-place Washington, but the Capitals have four games in hand.

“I don’t think we executed the way we wanted,” said Zack Smith, the only Senator to beat New York goalie Evgeni Nabokov on the 24 shots he faced. “We tried being a little too cute at times. We didn’t get pucks to the net and didn’t challenge their ‘D’ enough entering the zone.”

Smith opened the scoring with 13 seconds left in the second to give the Senators a lead they didn’t deserve.

Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson, making his 16th straight start, was the difference with 21 stops through two periods. He wound up with 30 saves on the night.

“We’ve been fortunate to have Andy hold us in games,” said Smith. “Late in the season, it definitely catches up to you. We have to start playing a full 60 minutes.”

A horrible defensive error in the third proved costly. With Jared Cowen out of position, P.A. Parenteau was able to slide a pass across to a wide-open Matt Martin, who beat Anderson to tie it up at 5:27.

Anderson tried to find the positive after the Senators weren’t able to hold the lead.

“Overall we got a point out of it,” said Anderson. “Right now, that’s what we’ve got to focus on.”

It looked like the Senators were going to be without centre Jason Spezza. He wasn’t at the morning skate and the club recalled Jim O’Brien, but Spezza elected to play with the flu. O’Brien was inserted into the lineup for Bobby Butler, who has only five goals this season and hasn’t scored in eight straight games.

For a team on the receiving end of few power plays lately, coach Paul MacLean said the Senators may be better off not getting any after going 0-for-2.

“I thought the power play sucked the life out of us,” said MacLean.

Actually, the Senators didn’t have much life to start with.

“We don’t shoot the puck,” said MacLean. “We get a lot of shots blocked right now. We have to make sure we get to the net and we have people shooting the puck.”

The Senators face the arch-rival Maple Leafs Saturday night in the second of back-to-back home games. With Toronto battling for a playoff spot, Ottawa’s effort is going to have to be a lot better.

“We have to make sure we’re ready to play,” said MacLean. “We have to have a much better effort than we did (vs. the Isles). There’s all of that Battle of Ontario and good stuff that goes with it, so it should be an exciting night.”


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