OTTAWA – Things just seem to be going from bad to worse for the Ottawa Senators these days.
After a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, the Senators find themselves mired in one of their worst slumps of the season and face a five-game roadtrip.
In addition the Senators lost two more players to injury.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, nobody’s going to,” said Senators coach Cory Clouston. “We’ve got to keep working hard and I thought our guys battled and obviously we’re missing some offence, but we’ve got to somehow find it. It’s not the way you want to go on a long road trip that’s for sure.”
The Panthers came into Ottawa desperate for a win after losing the first two games of their three-game roadtrip.
“It was critical,” said Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer. “We couldn’t go zero for the trip. It would have put us in a tough spot and it would have been tougher mentally.”
Rostislav Olesz scored twice to lead the Panthers. Nathan Horton also scored for Florida, while Tomas Vokoun was solid stopping 24 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
“We knew they were missing key people,” said Vokoun. “We knew we had to take advantage and I think we did.”
The first period seemed to be a struggle for both teams.
Despite two early power-play opportunities the Panthers managed just two shots on goals. The Senators weren’t much better as they had one shot on goal on their first power play and failed to get a shot on Tomas Vokoun in the second.
“Obviously the power play is a big concern,” said Clouston. “There’s some different guys out there with the injuries that we have and somehow we have to manufacture some offence.”
The Panthers managed to end the period with a 1-0 lead after Horton picked up a big rebound and beat Brian Elliott high glove side.
Things didn’t get much better in the second as Elliott allowed two bad goals, reinforcing Ottawa’s goaltending woes.
On the first, Elliott made a bad pass behind the net and never managed to get back in position as Olesz had the whole left side of the net. On the second, Elliott mishandled a wrist shot by Olesz which then slipped into the net.
“I felt pretty good in there, I made some good stops,” said Elliott, who stopped 16 shots. “It’s just that second period lull and a mistake that can’t really happen. We’ve just got to get better every day.”
The Senators also lost Jesse Winchester with what appears to be an injury to his right knee after a collision with Keith Ballard. Winchester fell awkwardly and was in severe pain afterwards. He injured the same knee in training camp this season.
Filip Kuba left early in the third period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return.
“It’s pouring (injuries),” said Ottawa’s Mike Fisher. “There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s going to force us to really become a team and see what we have within our group and I’m confident we can rally around it.”
The Senators have played seven of their last ten at home and Fisher is hoping a change of scenery will do the team some good.
“It might be good to get on the road,” said Fisher. “It will be good to spend some time together and I think it will be good for us.”
Notes: The Senators were without RW Daniel Alfredsson (shoulder, indefinite), C Jason Spezza (knee, indefinite), LW Milan Michalek (upper body, indefinite). D Alexandre Picard and RW Shean Donovan were a healthy scratch. The Panthers were without LW Kenndal McArdle (arm, indefinite), D Dmitry Kulikov (knee, indefinite), LW David Booth (concussion, indefinite).