Ottawa 1, St. Louis 3

Ottawa fell behind tonight and simply had no answer offensively.  Paul MacLean made a poor decision in starting Craig Anderson and the team itself continued to fail to execute.  The Sens had enough chances to win the game, but either missed the net or got overly cute in their play.  Here’s the box score.

First Period
Ottawa has a good start, including a great chance for Spezza, but the Blues score off a bad play started by a Carkner rim-around.  Daugavins subsequently hits the post and Konopka fights Crombeen.  Barely a minute later Perron scores off Anderson fumbling the puck and Paul MacLean’s decision to start him costs him two goals in 3:49.  Auld comes in and Ottawa carries the play the rest of the period, including Greening hitting another post.  Carkner, whose play has been brutal throughout the losing streak, was benched early in the period.
Second Period
Sens get off to a good start with Alfredsson scoring on the powerplay.  Instead of the momentum changing, a Karlsson turnover gives Perron his second goal of the game and puts the Sens back behind the eight-ball.  Ottawa’s powerplay becomes increasingly disjointed (two more attempts in the period) and Spezza can’t hit the net on two golden opportunities.
Third Period
The Sens struggle to make passes and get through the neutral zone and then continue to be pass-happy on their powerplay opportunity.  Condra continues the trend of missing the net on a golden opportunity.  MacLean calls a timeout and the result is 45 seconds of the Sens being unable to enter the zone.

A look at the goals:
1. St. Louis, Porter
Carkner rims it too no one and both Phillips and Smith leave Porter wide open to tip in Polak’s shot
2. St. Louis, Perron
Anderson fumbles a rebound and Smith gives up on the backcheck, allowing Perron to swing around Anderson and score
3. Alfredsson (Gonchar, Spezza) (pp)
A great tip-in play
4. St. Louis, Perron
Karlsson’s soft back-hand pass is turned over at the blueline and Perron has no trouble beating Auld one-on-one

Top-performers:
Sergei Gonchar – picked up an assist and was good defensively
Jason Spezza – can drive you nuts by over-passing the puck, but he had the most scoring chances tonight
Chris Phillips – one of his better games tonight

Players who struggled:
Zack Smith – defensive lapses on two goals
Erik Karlsson – hasn’t been the same since the western road trip; brutal turnover on the third goal
Jared Cowen – has also been struggling for quite a while; lead the team in turnovers

Senators News: February 7th

-The fact that the Sens have been losing bothers me less than how they’ve played.  The team has been pass-happy in the offensive zone and struggled to get out of their own zone (the classic Chris Phillips floater into the neutral zone comes to mind).  It’s pretty clear that Craig Anderson has slipped back into the mediocre form he displayed at the start of the season, but Paul MacLean has so little faith in Alex Auld that he’ll play Anderson anyway.  Bryan Murray would do well to move Auld if he can.  Another player who should be looking for a new address is Bobby Butler, but its a stretch that another team will bite given his salary/performance.  I thought Butler‘s pair of games on the top-line may have been a trade audition of sorts, but if so it failed miserably.  Jim O’Brien is one of several Binghamton Senators who are a better fit than Butler for the bottom of the Sens lineup (Jesse Winchester will have that role when he’s healthy).  I never thought I’d miss Brian Lee, but watching Matt Carkner lumber around the last six games has me missing the underwhelming #5.  Lee doesn’t excel in any particular area, but his ability to skate makes him a more useful depth player than Carkner.

Brian Lee is still not ready to return to the lineup; Craig Anderson will start.

-Paul MacLean returned to the lines that were scoring a couple of weeks ago–Greening back on the first line, Condra on the second line, Foligno on the third line.

-Paul MacLean thinks the Sens funk can be traced to the all-star break, “I just think, right now, we thought we’d come out of the (all-star) break and hit the gas, and away we’d go. But it hasn’t happened that way. That’s just a quirk. Sometimes you’re playing good, sometimes you’re playing bad. Right now we’re not playing good. I think we’re getting better, but we have to go game by game, day by day, and try to get better.”  I thought the Sens were very engaged playing Boston, but were going through the motions against the Islanders and Leafs.

Wayne Scanlan wishfully wants fans to behave themselves at games–I can’t believe he thinks that’s a realistic expectation.

ESPN and TSN‘s power rankings are out, with Ottawa 16th and 13th

Joy Lindsay Tweets Binghamton’s lines at practice: Klinkhammer-Locke-Downing, Hoffman-Da Costa-Parrish, Dziurzynski-Cannone-Petersson, Grant-Hamilton-Bartlett(Lessard).

-Sens prospect Matt Puempel has been out with a concussion since January 4th (after a hit to the head from Alex Gudbranson), but has begun light exercise (link).