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Follow Me on TwitterGreg Smith is the Ottawa Senators' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Greg was born and bred in Ottawa. An original Senators season ticket holder, he has followed the Senators from their infancy, including attending the very first inter-squad game in Hull and first regular season game to this their 20th year in the NHL. Greg previously interned at CBC radio sports in Toronto for a month before hosting his own radio talk show on CKCU radio in Ottawa for two years. Passionate about his Senators, Greg will provide current news and views on the Ottawa Senators organization from a global perspective. Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of FightingForStanley.ca If you have questions or wish to contact Greg, you can email him at gsmith@ourhometown.ca.
Another slow start delivers blow to Senators playoff hopes
Greg Smith
OurHometown.ca

Another slow start delivers blow to Senators playoff hopes
David Perron scored a pair of goals and Brian Elliot made a triumphant return to Ottawa, making 28 saves as the St. Louis Blues beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 at Scotiabank Place tonight. The loss extended the Senators losing streak to seven games and makes them 0-2-1 on their current five game home stand.
PHOTO CREDIT - Senators.com

Ottawa - February 8, 2012 - David Perron scored a pair of goals and Brian Elliot made a triumphant return to Ottawa, making 28 saves as the St. Louis Blues beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 at Scotiabank Place tonight. The loss extended the Senators losing streak to seven games and makes them 0-2-1 on their current five game home stand. The Senators next home game is Thursday night when they host the Nashville Predators.

Same script

It’s become like a bit of a broken record but the Senators again started the game poorly. Less than four minutes into the game the Senators found themselves behind 2-0 to the Blues. For the record, the Senators have only led in 11 of 56 games after the first period and have now been outscored 57-32. During the seven game homestand the Senators have been outscored 7-0, which is a big reason why they have only one point from those seven games.

Tonight, Craig Anderson was a big reason why they fell behind early stopping only two of the first four shots in the game before being pulled for Alex Auld. Auld has only started five games this season so Anderson’s had to carry the load. Anderson looks tired and I think he needs a break. He’s given up 20 goals in his last five plus games. The problem is that the coaching staff doesn’t seem to have any faith in Auld. My thought is that if the Senators have no faith in starting Auld to give Anderson a break, then the Senators should bring Robin Lehner from Binghamton and give him a chance to play.

Poor Defensive coverage

Despite falling behind early the Senators did outshot 29-18 and outplay the Blues for most of the game. The problem is that when give a team like the Blues a two goal lead they go into a defensive shell and keep most of the shots to the outside, which they did effectively tonight.

The pairing of Sergei Gonchar and Jarred Cowen were again victimized for a goal tonight. With the pair allowing David Perron to walk in a pick up his own rebound and slip it past Anderson. It’s now four straight games that the pairing has been responsible for some bad defensive zone coverage.

Eric Karlsson also got in the act, by turning the puck over three feet inside the blue line. The turnover resulted in a the Blues third goal by David Perron, effectively ending any chance the Senators had. All Karlsson had to do was shot the puck off the boards to safety. Instead he decided to make a risky backhand pass along the blue line. Karlsson has not played good since the All-Star game and his decision-making has been bad. He’s also looked a little slower than usual.

Offensive drought

The Senators have been in slump offensively. Since the third period in the Boston game, Ottawa has scored two goals in ten periods plus a five-minute overtime. The Senators are getting shots, they just aren’t scoring on them. The also aren’t driving to the net with the puck like they normally do and a lot of their shots were from the outside.

If things continue the Senators will find themselves sitting outside of a playoff spot looking in. They have a two point lead over the Florida Panthers, however the Panthers do have three games in hand.

Parting Shots

- The ice looked very chippy tonight. The puck was bouncing all over the place and a lot of passes by both teams were bouncing over sticks.

- The Senators did manage to go 1-4 on the power play. Statistically the Sens are 18th on the power play at 17%. It’s a far cry from early in the year when the Senators had the number one power play.

- I wonder if Craig Anderson will start the next game against Nashville. In the past Anderson has bounced back after being pulled. The Senators sure need him to play better.


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