March 10, 2012
Mac furious after Sens loss
By Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - The point wasn’t lost on Paul MacLean.
The Senators coach was happy with his club’s effort in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Sabres on Saturday night, but he wasn’t at all pleased with the work by officials Chris Rooney and Kelly Sutherland on the goal that sent it to OT.
Sure, it must have felt good for Marcus Foligno to tie the game with his first NHL goal at 14:06 of the third, but MacLean didn’t like the way the brother of Senators winger Nick Foligno knocked Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar off the puck.
“I’m a little bit disappointed in their last goal and that there wasn’t a penalty called on (Foligno),” said MacLean. “I thought it was a slew-foot (on Gonchar) that led to an opportunity for him to get the puck.
“We had the lead with less than six minutes to go and they had to make a play, that in my mind is disappointing that ends up tying the game. What I was told by the closest referee was that (Gonchar) got outmuscled. It was a battle play ... It ends up being a good forecheck.”
In the shootout, Tyler Ennis, the sixth shooter, scored the winner to hand Senators rookie goalie Ben Bishop his first loss in three starts as the Sabres kept their playoff hopes alive.
Bishop said it wasn’t all bad.
“It was good to get the point,” said Bishop. “Ryan Miller played well. We didn’t play as solid a 60 minutes as we could, but it was good to get the point.”
Erik Karlsson scored twice in regulation — and is now only one goal shy of the franchise high of 19 goals set by Steve Duchesne in 1996-97. Not bad for a game-time decision.
Karlsson was hit by the Rangers’ John Scott Thursday and didn’t decide until after warmup if he was going to play. It’s good, he did.
“We could have come away with the win. We had the lead a couple of times there,” said Karlsson. “I feel good. We’ve come a long way during the season and there’s going to be some bumps along the way. I’m happy I played.”
Erik Condra also struck for the Senators before they went to the shootout.
Condra was pleased to finally score after a 29-game drought.
“I scored when my stick was in the net,” he said with a smile. “I’ve had chances. I’m not playing bad. When you’re getting chances, you know one is going in. It’s just nice to get the monkey off my back.”
Bishop made 38 saves in regulation, while Miller had 33 stops.
Martin Gerbe and Ennis also scored in regulation for the Sabres, who erased the Ottawa lead three times to force the shootout.
On the Marcus Foligno goal, the officials reviewed the play to see if it was scored with a high stick. The puck appeared to bounce off Daniel Alfredsson’s skate and over Bishop’s shoulder.
Karlsson had given the Senators a 3-2 lead at 7:14 of the third.
The Senators were tied 2-2 after 40 minutes. It should have been much worse for the Sabres. Miller was the only reason Ottawa fans weren’t already counting the two points for victory.
Buzzing the net with the Senators running around in their own zone, Ennis beat Bishop with a backhand with only 19 seconds left in the second to tie it up.
Karlsson’s 17th that gave the Senators a brief 2-1 lead in the second was the result of a great bounce. Shooting from the corner with a crowd in front, the puck hit Miller’s elbow and into the net at 11:49.
The Senators had better chances before Karlsson scored. First, Miller stopped Kaspars Daugavins in alone, had a pad stop on Condra when he couldn’t get the puck up. Rob Klinkhammer’s shot on a breakaway went through Miller’s skates and bounced wide.
The Senators were up 1-0 after the first. Bishop picked up right where he left off against the Rangers by making 12 stops in the first. His best was a pad stop on Jason Pominville in the opening minute to set the tone.
With Milan Michalek serving an interference penalty, Condra broke in alone and beat Miller on the glove side at 8:27. That was the first goal Condra scored since Jan. 2 against the Devils.
The Senators are off until they face the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.