OTTAWA – The way things are going right now for the Ottawa Senators, they could use a few breaks like the one the Anaheim Ducks got Friday night.
Despite a frantic third period in which the Senators scored three times to get back into the game from four goals down, they couldn’t get any closer to the Ducks in a 4-3 loss before a crowd of 19,762 at a sold-out Scotiabank Place.
While Ryan Getlaf’s first goal of the season, on the power play in the second period, proved to be the eventual winner, it was a bizarre marker by Todd Marchant earlier in the period that helped confine slumping Ottawa (2-4-1) to its third straight loss and fourth defeat in the past five games.
“When things are going well for you, you get the bounces, when they’re not, they go against you,” Senators centre Jason Spezza said.
With an off-day in the World Series, Marchant did his best baseball imitation, batting a dumped-in puck out of the air and beating Senators goaltender Alex Auld from long range to put Anaheim (3-5-0) up 2-0 just 50 seconds into the middle period.
“I’ve seen a few strange ones and I don’t even know how that one went in,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “It was like an infield fly and (Senators defenceman) Jason Smith tried to catch it and Marchant batted it when it was hand level. I’m sure it surprised Alex Auld.”
The formerly cold Ducks, in the midst of a four-game road trip have now won back-to-back contests and three of their last four.
“It’s just a fluke, break, whatever it is, those are the things that you need to have to happen for you to get out of your funk or your team’s bad spell and tonight we where able to hang on for a big win.”
Getzlaf sat out Anaheim’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday night because of an absessed tooth.
But with the Ducks back in Ottawa for the first time since the 2007 Stanley Cup final, he was back in the lineup and helped Anaheim stake a 4-0 lead by the midway point of the second period after Brian Sutherby and Samuel Pahlsson, playing in career game No. 500, also scored.
Getzlaf didn’t imagine his goal would turn out to be as important as it was after Ottawa rallied.
Anaheim had been just 1-for-26 on the power play heading into the game and Getzlaf had so far recorded just an assist in six previous contests.
“I hoped that (his goal) wouldn’t have to make a difference, but obviously we let things slip a little bit,” he said. “They came out pretty fiery (in the third) and they got two power-play goals and that kind of sets you back on your heels, but our guys did a great job regrouping and continuing on with our game plan for the last five.”
Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller made 27 saves in just his second start of the year to pick up the win.
Daniel Alfredsson and Alexandre Picard scored for the Senators with the man advantage during a wild third and Chris Neil also had a goal.
Dany Heatley recorded three assists while Filip Kuba added two to extend his point-scoring streak to seven games.
Auld, who finished with 28 saves, was also making just his second start of the season.
He hadn’t played since Ottawa’s second game of the season, when he helped the Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in Stockholm on Oct. 5, and Sutherby beat him just past the halfway point of the first on a rebound to put the Ducks in the lead.
Then, just 50 seconds into the second, Teemu Selanne flipped the puck from his own end into the Senators’ zone, where Ottawa’s Smith attempted to catch it with his glove and drop it to the ice to play it.
However, Marchant, from between the blue-line and top of the faceoff circle, batted the puck out of the air and it sailed in past a stunned Auld.
“I don’t know what I can say. I saw Teemu flip it up in the air, I saw Jason go and grab it and he went to put it down. I happened to be right there and took a whack at it,” Marchant said. “I looked at it on the replay after the game and, sure enough, I’m actually looking the other way after it goes in the net. I had no idea.”
Neither did Auld.
“That second goal was crazy. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like that,” he explained. “I never saw it. It just kind of whizzed by my head.
“It puts us back on our heels a little bit.”
From there, Pahlsson, then Getzlaf added goals.
But like they did when they fired a franchise-record 26 shots in the third period during a 3-1 defeat to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday, the Senators stormed out in the final frame.
With the Senators enjoying a 5-on-3 power play early in the third, Alfredsson scored and, with Anaheim still a man short, Picard made it 4-2.
Neil scored Ottawa’s first even-strength goal in 162 minutes 44 seconds of game time to make it 4-3, but with Auld on the bench in favour of an extra attacker in the final minutes, the Senators couldn’t tie it up.
“We’ve got to find a way to get that passion throughout the game when we’re not already down,” Auld said.
Notes: The Senators left after the game for Toronto, where they’ll play the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. … The Ducks were off to Montreal to face the Canadiens, also on Saturday. …Ottawa made one lineup change from Wednesday, sending forward Christoph Schubert to the press box in favour of Shean Donovan. … Defenceman Bret Hedican, signed as a free agent by Anaheim on Thursday, didn’t suit up.