Senators Continue to Come up Short

Another game, another 40 minute effort. This trend has emerged in the first quarter of the season in the nations capital. Problem is, the Ottawa Senators can’t seem to find the answers to solve their issues.

After collecting three of a possible four points last weekend, the Senators went back to their losing ways.

On Tuesday night, the Senators went into Montreal and fell to the Canadiens, 4-1.Even though the score was tied at one after the second period, you had the sense the Canadiens were in firm control. One NHL executive told me after the game that the Sens are just not that good. No speed, no determination, and no real desire.

Thanks for the tip.

Enter the New York Rangers. The Sens have fared well against the Rangers over the years, with their last win coming at MSG last Sunday.

The Sens opened the scoring early, on their second shot. Mike Fisher collected a rebound and potted his eighth. Getting a special teams mark early on a good drive to the net by Fisher was important for his confidence. However, Rangers rookie forward Derek Stepan tied it up less than two minutes later on their first shot, taking away any momentum the Sens had.

Both teams seemed to hunker down for the rest of the first. An early Jason Spezza goal in the second on the power play, put the Senators up by a goal. But following the script, Ruslan Fedotenko notched his fifth of the year just one minute later.

A disallowed Fisher goal shortly thereafter didn’t seem to damper the spirits of the Senators. In fact the Sens were able to bounce back, something they haven’t done a lot recently when faced with adversity, when Fisher scored on a breakaway at the 8:47 mark.

And then the Rangers found another gear.

“That was kind of our plan, to take over ( in the third ),” Fedotenko said. “It felt like to that point we didn’t have enough offensive chances.”

During the Senators recent slide, one area that hasn’t been terrible is the play in their own zone. They have been limiting teams to fewer and fewer scoring chances, as evidenced by the 11 shots the Rangers had midway through the second.

But the New Yorkers fired 10 more shots at Brian Elliot in the next ten minutes, and opened the third with a very lucky goal by Erik Christensen. Marc Staal nearly broke the tie, hitting the post midway into the third.

“It goes off the side of the net and hops in a space,” Elliot said. “It’s tough when the puck is kind of battling you all night. You just got to let it go, it won’t happen too often. Bad puck luck.”

Chris Neil took a charging penalty late in the third, and the Rangers made them pay. Mike Sauer notched his first NHL goal, a blast that went five hole on Elliot.

“This is a funny game,” Staal said. “They get one late to go up one at the end of the game last game and then we do it again tonight. This will obviously give us a bit of a boost.”

“For the most part we played pretty solid and we were feeling good going into the third,” Fisher said after the game. “But a couple miscues and we let it slip away. It is a frustrating one for sure.”

“I thought we played a really good game,” Nick Foligno commented.  It was a back and forth game and it was tough to see that one go in. But we had time left to score. The onus is on us to try and get that one back.”

While the Sens were able to notch three goals for only the fourth time in the last 16 games, there really isn’t much that was positive that came out of the loss.  And judging by the attendance — listed at just over 16,000 — fans are beginning to lose interest in a team that hasn’t been playing an exciting brand of hockey.

It is still early to say this team is out of a playoff race; but this squad cannot afford to fall any further in the standings.

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