OTTAWA – If Ottawa Senators fans were hoping a coaching change would help their team deliver an inspired performance, they were sorely disappointed.
Michal Handzus scored the only goal Tuesday night as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Senators 1-0 in a game that marked the NHL coaching debut for Cory Clouston, who took over after Craig Hartsburg was relieved of his duties Sunday night.
The loss was the third straight by the Senators (17-25-7) and the second in three games by a 1-0 shutout. They fell by the same count to the Blue Jackets last Friday in Columbus.
“We’ve got to do a better job of getting rebounds and getting goals. That’s what’s missing,” said Senators caption Daniel Alfredsson of his offensively-challenged team. The Senators are the lowest-scoring team in the NHL with just 116 goals in 49 games.
“(Clouston) did a good job behind the bench getting us fired up,” said Senators forward Jason Spezza. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t score a goal. It’s going to be a learning process for us here for the next couple of weeks.”
Handzus picked up the puck behind the Senators net and then jammed a goal in from the side of the net at 17:21 of the third period. Wayne Simmonds and Brad Richardson picked up assists on Handzus’ ninth goal of the season. The win was the fourth in the past five games for the Kings (21-21-7).
“I was just trying to get the puck to the net and hope for a rebound,” Handzus said.
“That was a huge win for us.”
Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to record his third shutout of the season and improved to 4-1-0 in his last five starts. The only loss during that stretch was a 4-3 setback in Montreal last Saturday when the Canadiens scored two late goals to win.
“It was a good game was some good defensive plays form both sides,” said Quick, a product of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst of the NCAA, who was facing the Senators for the first time.
“You had to expect them to come out with a bit of jump with the new coach there. They had a good first period and in the second period you could tell they were really trying to pour it on put the defence played great. The difference was a greasy goal at the end there.”
Brian Elliot stopped 25 of 26 shots in the Ottawa goal and was very close to his fist career shutout in the NHL.
“Their best player was their goaltender tonight in Quick. He was very, very solid,” Clouston said.
“We had some opportunities and he’s very athletic. We just couldn’t capitalize on our chances.”
For nearly three periods, both teams created turnovers at regular intervals but no one was able to convert any of the created chances.
Sean O’Donnell made the most glaring giveaway of the game when he passed the puck directly to Dany Heatley in front of the Los Angeles goal. Heatley was all alone in front of Quick, but he hit the post.
Chris Kelly had a first-period breakaway for the Senators but he wasn’t able to get a shot on net as he went to his backhand.
Both teams were 0-for-5 on the power play.
Notes: Kings D Denis Gauthier served the fist game of a five-game suspension he received for a hit on Josh Georges of the Montreal Canadiens Saturday afternoon…Kings D Matt Greene played in his 200th NHL game Tuesday night…the Kings are the youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 25.3 years old…the Senators trail the lifetime series with the Kings 6-13-2-1…the Senators haven’t scored a goal against the Kings since the December 2005. They were shutout 2-0 by the Kings in their only meeting last season and didn’t play each other in 2006-07.