Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Senators fall at home again

OTTAWA—On the day Daniel Alfredsson returned to Ottawa, the Senators got yet another reminder that things aren’t the same this season without him.
Despite an empty-net goal and an assist, Alfredsson wasn’t primarily responsible for the Senators’ second-straight loss and fourth-straight at home.

But in helping the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 victory last night at the Canadian Tire Centre, the long-time captain contributed to the continuation of his former team’s woes.
“The result makes it a lot sweeter,” said Alfredsson, who was named the third star in his return.
“You could tell our team was motivated today and played hard, and I thought we got better as the game went on,” he added.
“But if we would have lost, for me personally I think it would still have been a night I’ll always remember.”
Like so many times in their previous 27 games in the post-Alfredsson era, something was just missing for the Senators (10-13-4).
Botched line changes hurt badly.
“They catch us on three line changes and they get the odd-man rush, and they don’t miss,” lamented Ottawa coach Paul MacLean.
“They’re a team that if you give them those opportunities, they’re going to take advantage of them,” he stressed.
“They took what we gave them and they made it the difference in the game.”
The other difference was Ottawa’s power-less power play, which went 0-for-4 and put up just four shots.
“We couldn’t really establish anything off the entries, and that’s why we couldn’t really get set up,” noted defenceman Erik Karlsson.
“We just had to chase the puck the whole time.”
And when the Red Wings had the puck at even strength, they got the job done. Alfredsson assisted on Johan Franzen’s opening goal for Detroit (14-7-7) while Drew Miller scored twice.
Clarke MacArthur scored his eighth goal of the season for the Senators, and Mika Zibanejad made things interesting late, but it wasn’t enough to make them a perfect 3-0 against the Red Wings this season.
Ottawa had won the first two meetings—both coming at Joe Louis Arena.
The Senators were the “Pesky Sens” last year when they managed to find ways to win despite injuries to Karlsson, centre Jason Spezza, goalie Craig Anderson, and others.
This season, they’ve struggled mightily.
Yesterday was another painful example of those problems.
“At the end of the day we didn’t do enough to win,” MacLean reasoned.
“Is that playing harder? Is that work ethic? Is that being smarter? It’s all of the above, I would say,” he added.
“But we can just categorize it, I guess, under one term is that we need to play harder.”
And, ideally, better at home. Their last win at Canadian Tire Centre was back on Nov. 15.
“It seems like we got a little block at home,” noted MacArthur.
“I think one thing goes wrong and then another thing goes wrong, and then we start to tighten up.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Edmonton nipped Dallas 3-2 (SO) and Vancouver edged Carolina 3-2.

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