OTTAWA – Even returning to Ottawa couldn’t snap the Senators out of their funk.
Mark Eaton scored in overtime as the New York Islanders defeated Ottawa 2-1 on Friday, handing them their fifth straight loss.
The Senators hadn’t played at home since Jan. 16 and have earned just one point since Jan. 19.
“We’ll take that one point as a positive,” said Senators’ defenceman Matt Carkner. “We started to take over in the second (period) and then it started to slip away from us.
“We’re working hard and we’re trying to do the right things, we just have to have a little bit more of a push here and there, forget about the losses and work on going forward.”
Eaton took a pass from Milan Jurcina and put a no-look backhand shot past Senators’ goaltender Craig Anderson 2:35 into the extra period.
Matt Martin had the regulation goal for the Islanders (21-22-7) while P.A. Parenteau had two assists. Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves for New York.
Zack Smith had a short-handed goal for the Senators (27-20-7), who played their first home game since a 2-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 16. Anderson turned aside 30 shots.
Red-hot Islanders forward John Tavares was held scoreless. He came into the game with three goals in two games and finished the month of January with nine goals and 13 assists.
“It was a pretty tight hockey game and a big game for both teams” Tavares said. “It was great to see a guy like Mark Eaton score, who’s done a lot of good things for us this year, the little things that don’t always get the press.
“Great to see him score and it was a big win for us.”
The Islanders trailed 1-0 heading into the third period, but Parenteau drew Senators’ defencemen Sergei Gonchar and Jared Cowen towards him along the boards and then sent a pass to Martin who was alone in the middle of the ice.
Martin moved in and beat Anderson cleanly to tie the game at 5:27 into the third period.
“I’m proud of the guys with their effort and we did a lot of good things,” Islanders’ coach Jack Capuano said while adding praise for the work of Parenteau.
“He’s been real good for us and he’s showed poise and made a great pass to Matty on that goal. He’s been a guy that is really working hard and the results are there for him.”
The only goal of the opening 40 minutes came as the second period was winding to a close. Smith took control of the puck in his own zone while the Islanders were on a power play, skated the length of the ice and beat Nabokov.
The shot hit the top of Nabokov’s trapper as he misjudged the shot that gave the Senators a 1-0 at 18:47.
“I thought the power play sucked the life out of us,” Senators’ coach Paul MacLean said following an 0-for-2 performance with the man advantage.
“Their play through the neutral zone clogged everything and our execution compounded it. We never really got into their zone with any kind of clean opportunity with the puck. Their play without the puck in the neutral zone was better than ours.”
There weren’t very many good scoring chances up until that point and Scotiabank Place was a very quiet building, unlike five days early when 21 goals were scored during the all-star game, including four by Senators’ players.
Notes: The game Friday night was the Senators’ 1,500th in franchise history.…The Ottawa Senators recalled forward Jim O’Brien Friday from the American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Senators.…The Senators are 42-16-11-3 all-time against the Islanders.…The Senators are tied for the NHL lead with six wins after trailing following two periods.…Mark Eaton played his 600th career NHL game Friday night, and 69th with the Islanders.…Islanders forward John Tavares has eight goals and 15 assists in his 15 games prior to Friday night when he was held pointless.