Sens blow another one

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

Okay, first the good news.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson finally scored a goal and it actually came with a goaltender in the net.

After that?

Ummm ... hang on ... there must be more ... oh, yeah, nobody got seriously hurt and they're not paying Alexei Kaigorodov anymore.

The Senators had a closed-door, players-only meeting after their 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last night at Scotiabank Place.

The topic?

Hmmm. Where to start?

Their inability to protect a lead?

Another loss in a one-goal game?

Another awful night for the power play -- the worst in the league on home ice -- blowing two 5-on-3 advantages, a total of 1:36 in which they managed just three shots, none of them forcing Carolina goaltender Cam Ward into particularly tough saves?

"We talked about that little extra we need. We're a team that gets a little shy when we're up in a game," said Alfredsson of the post-game discussion. "We stop playing and let them take it to us. We've got to be more confident with the puck when we're up by a goal."

The power play couldn't even take advantage in the waning seconds of the game and Senators goaltender Martin Gerber on the bench for another extra attacker.

It was the Senators' third-straight loss, dropping them to 2-5 at home and 5-7 overall. They are now 1-5 in one-goal games. The power play is now just 2-for-41 on home ice.

The Senators were cruising along until they completely unravelled in the third. First they allowed the 'Canes to tie the game 58 seconds into the period on a turnover deep in their zone and then, after they blew a 71-second 5-on-3, the 'Canes' Ray Whitney made sure Carolina didn't do the same, scoring the winner on a 5-on-3.

"We gave them two 5-on-3s. We kill of the first one and they score on the second and it's the difference in the game," said Alfredsson.

"It's hard to swallow."

Senators defenceman Chris Phillips, normally a level-headed fellow, became the image of the Senators' frustration in the third when was called for interfering with Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour with the Senators already killing a 5-on-3 disadvantage.

Phillips slapped his stick on the ice in front of referee Chris Lee and was given another two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I was just involved with the play. I didn't feel it was a penalty," said Phillips. "I felt it was a good play."

On the second 5-on-3 advantage, Whitney scored his second of the period for the winner less than a minute later as he ripped a shot off the post to Gerber's left, spoiling Gerber's first game against his old teammates.

The Hurricanes schooled the Senators last night on what makes a champion. They didn't deviate from their plan, even though there were down 2-0 after Ottawa's Denis Hamel scored his second of the season 2:50 in the second.

They made it a one-goal game as Erik Cole scored on the power play late in the second (with Brind'Amour drawing an assist, the 1,000th point of his career) and then Cole helped set up Whitney for the equalizer just 58 seconds into the third.

This is what Alfredsson is talking about: The Senators got caught running around their zone on that one and big Eric Staal created a turnover when he shoved Ottawa's Antoine Vermette off the puck in the corner.

Whitney snapped a rising shot by Gerber from the left wing circle. When the game was sitting there, waiting to be taken, it was the Hurricanes who wrapped their arms around it.

They didn't panic. They seized on their chances.

That's what champions do.

Oh.

There is more good news.

The Senators now head out of town for a four-game road trip.


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