Ottawa - December 9, 2011 - For the second night in the row the Ottawa Senators held a lead in the third period and collapsed late in the game, only to lose in a shootout 5-4. The Senators gave up three straight third period goals. For the first period and a half the Senators dominated the Devils to take a 3-0 lead and send Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur to the showers. Brodeur was pulled for Johan Hedberg after Daniel Alfreddson gave the Senators a three goal lead.
The power play is the main reason the Senators lost tonight’s game. Although, the Senators went one for four on the power play it was the two short-handed goals the Senators gave up when leading in the game that cost the Senators.
With the Senators ahead 3-0 in the second period and on the power play, Jason Spezza turned the puck over at centre ice which led to the Zach Parise goal. Spezza tried to pass the puck through a A. Henrique at centre ice instead of carrying the puck and making the safe play.
The Senators were then guilty of giving up another short-handed goal to the Devils three minutes into the third period when the they turned the puck over inside the Devils blueline to give up a two on one. Dainius Zubrus barried his eight goal of the season to make it a 3-2 game. With all the momentum the Devils then followed that up with two more goals to take the lead 4-3.
Ahead by the three goals and in control of the game, the Senators did not make good decisions on the power play, instead making high risk plays and taking chances instead of making the safe play. With a lead and on the road the Senators need to play much smarter with the lead.
Coach Paul MacLean has done an excellent job this year, buy why didn’t MacLean call a timeout when the Senators gave up the second short-handed goal in the third period? The Senators clearly needed a timeout and needed to gain some of the momentum back.
Alex Auld was solid in the first half of the game, but when the Senators needed him to make a big save he wasn’t there for them. It wasn’t his fault that the Senators lost, but it would’ve been nice if he could’ve given them the save when they needed it.
Just when it looked like the Senators were going home with nothing to show for their efforts, Daniel Alfredsson made a crucial hit in the last 20 seconds while short-handed to cause a turnover, then took a shot on net which went to Jesse Winchester who tied the game with just three seconds left. Alfie has contributed at crucial moments in at least 1o games this year by my count.
Next up for the Senators is the Vancouver Canucks so it doesn’t get any easier. Let’s hope the Senators manage to improve their defensive play. Defenseman Matt Carkner is expected back in the lineup. Carkner’s size and toughness will be a welcome addition to a blueline that has been soft at times.