Senators drop third straight game after giving up two-goal lead to Hurricanes

Ray Whitney scored twice and Eric Cole had a goal and two assists as the Carolina Hurricanes came back to earn a 3-2 win over the slumping Senators.

The Senators held a closed-door team meeting following the loss at Scotiabank Place where they are a disappointing 2-5-0. Ottawa (5-7-0) is facing their second three-game losing streak of the year in comparison to having just one last season.

“I hope this is it,” said Ottawa’s Mike Fisher. “We know we’ve got a good group of solid guys and we’re going to turn it around. We’re disappointed. We can’t hang our heads, we’ve got to look up and look at things we can do as a team.”

Cam Ward stopped 24 shots for Carolina (7-6-2).

Daniel Alfredsson and Denis Hamel scored for the Senators. Martin Gerber, who received his Stanley Cup ring earlier in the day, faced 40 shots in his first game against his former teammates.

After dealing with trade rumours and much criticism this past week Alfredsson finally managed to pick up a goal on his very first shift. The Senators captain beat Ward high glove side to the delight of the 19,648 on hand. It will likely do little to appease the masses calling for the Senators brass to trade him.

“It seems like were a team that gets a little shy when we get up in a game,” said Alfredsson. “We stopped kind of playing and we let them take the game to us. We’ve got to be more confident with the puck.”

The Senators made it 2-0 three minutes into the second as Hamel beat a sliding Ward through the legs, but Ottawa was unable to hold off the defending Stanley Cup champions. Carolina got on the board with a power-play goal late in the second as Cole caught Gerber cheating and was able to squeeze the puck in at the side of the net.

Rod Brind’Amour assisted on the goal and picked up his 1,000th career point.

“It doesn’t mean a lot at the moment,” said Brind’Amour. “When I got 500 points I remember thinking 1,000 is way out there, but now that I’m here it doesn’t mean a heck of a lot.

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“But I think when you’re all done it’s nice to look back on. It means you’ve played a long time, but you’ve also been pretty successful.”

The Hurricanes were successful in tearing down the Senators as the game wore on. Whitney tied the game 58 seconds into the third period as he beat Gerber far-side.

Special teams was once again the demise of the Senators who finished the game 0-for-7 with the man advantage despite a 71-second two-man advantage in the third.

Senators coach Bryan Murray was frustrated with his team’s power play.

“I would like to think we have the ammunition to do it,” said Murray. “If we’re to have success we need goals five-on-three and more often than not on the power play.”

The players were also struggling with explanations for the team’s power-play woes.

“We had a five-on-three for a minute and almost 45 seconds and then we give them two five-on-threes and we kill the first one and then they score on the second one,” said Alfredsson. “That’s the difference in the game. It’s tough to swallow.”

The Hurricanes were much more opportunistic as they made the most of back-to-back two-man advantages. They were 2-for-7 with the extra man.

Carolina took its first lead of the game on a power-play goal by Whitney midway through

the period.

“We just seemed to be clicking (Saturday),” said Cole. “If you can execute on your power play there’s no reason why you shouldn’t capitalize.”

Saturday marked the start of the busiest month of the season for the Senators as they will play 15 games in November. Ottawa will attempt to turn things around as they head out for a four-game roadtrip starting in Washington on Monday.

Notes: Ottawa D Wade Redden missed his third straight game with a groin injury. C Alexei Kaigorodov was suspended for failing to report to the AHL’s Binghamton Senators Saturday. . . . Mike Fisher wore an “A” in Redden’s absence. . . . The Hurricanes were without D Tim Gleason (shoulder), D Frantisek Kaberle (shoulder), C Keith Aucoin (foot), F Trevor Letowski (concussion) and F Cory Stillman (shoulder).