OTTAWA – The only silver lining for the Ottawa Senators right now is the fact they’re still alive.
The Senators are facing elimination from the NHL playoffs after a 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice Tuesday. The Penguins hold a 3-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference quarter-final.
The Senators had looked at Game 4 as a must-win, but in the end it was their own shortcomings that cost them the game. Poor goaltending, bad penalties and poor judgement may end up costing Ottawa the series.
“We’ve got nobody to look at but ourselves,” said Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips. “We have to be better, we have to be better disciplined, we have to be smarter and we have to do all those things if we want to turn this thing around.”
The Senators will have little time to dwell on this performance that saw Penguins captain Sidney Crosby finish with two goals and two assists. Game 5 is Thursday in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins have been able to rattle the Senators in this series, and on Tuesday they got mistake-prove Ottawa off its game with a five-goal explosion in the second period.
“Things started to unravel at times, especially after the second goal,” said Senators coach Cory Clouston. “A couple calls that seemed to rattle us as well and they capitalized on a lot of those mistakes.”
Goaltending has also been a problem for the Senators, as neither Brian Elliott or Pascal Leclaire seem up to the challenge so far this series.
“It’s frustrating for both myself and him obviously when you let those goals in,” Elliott said. “It’s not the way you want it to work out especially at a time like this.”
The Senators head to Pittsburgh a desperate team, but they’re hoping they haven’t played their last home game of the season yet.
“It’s not insurmountable because it’s not over,” Phillips said. “We’ve got one game to go and play and we’re going to do everything we can to win that game and then we come back home and play another one.
“We believe we have it in that dressing room. We just have to go and do it, obviously talk is cheap.”
Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza both picked up their first goal of the series, giving Ottawa a glimmer of hope.
?It’s all about winning,? Alfredsson said. ?It doesn’t matter if you’re a person who does well or not. We didn’t find a way to win and we dug ourselves a big hole and we’ve just got to regroup and take it to Pittsburgh and hopefully we can come back here.?