MONTREAL – Chris Campoli quickly realized he wasn’t in Long Island anymore.
The new Ottawa Senators defenceman and power play quarterback played a team-high 23:38 and notched two assists, but his arrival from the New York Islanders along with Mike Comrie couldn’t prevent a 5-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday afternoon.
After spending four years playing at the lifeless Nassau Coliseum, Campoli says the experience of an all-Canadian matchup at the Bell Centre took some getting used to.
“It honestly felt like a playoff game,” said the native of Mississauga, Ont. “It was intense, it was great. I looked around and it took me a minute to get settled in. It’s different, obviously, but once I got settled I felt pretty good and I think the team responded as the game went on, too.”
Campoli and Comrie were acquired Friday from the Islanders in exchange for Dean McAmmond and San Jose’s first-round draft pick.
Senators GM Bryan Murray has spoken all year about the need to add a puck-moving defenceman and Campoli showed he can fill that role Saturday.
He logged a team-high 9:33 on the power play even though he hasn’t had a chance to practice with the Senators.
However the Senators went just 1-for-7 on the power play, with the only goal coming off a 5-on-3 advantage at 17:06 of the third with the game already out of reach.
“I didn’t think (the power play) was that bad but it definitely was the difference,” Campoli said. “We’ve got to score. If our power play scores tonight it’s a close game or tied”.
Campoli had probably the best chance on the power play less than two minutes into the third when he took a backdoor pass with an open net but couldn’t bury the puck.
“It just went off the tip of my stick,” he said. “That’s got to go in.”
Comrie, in his second stint with the Senators, played on a wing with Mike Fisher and Nick Foligno. He registered five shots on goal in 16:36 of ice time, with 4:15 on the power play.
The diminutive winger had a chance to tie a 1-0 game about five minutes into the first when the puck bounced to him on a goalmouth scramble, but the puck was in his feet and he couldn’t fish it out to stuff it home.
In addition to the new acquisitions, the Senators got an unexpected boost when captain Daniel Alfredsson suited up despite breaking his jaw in Colorado on Tuesday.
The original prognosis was that Alfredsson would be out at least a week, but he only wound up missing one game, playing Saturday with his regular half visor and a jaw protector that made it look like he was wearing a full shield.
“(The doctors) explained what can happen if you get another blow to it, but then it’s up to me,” Alfredsson said. “I talked to them before the Vancouver game (Thursday) and it’s a fracture, but it will be four weeks at least until it’s fully healed. If I wait one week or 10 days it’s still not going to be healed, and I can handle the pain as it is.”