OTTAWA – Before Game 3, Senators coach Cory Clouston said Ottawa needed more offence from stars Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher if they want to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Clouston got what he asked for Sunday, but not nearly enough of it as Fisher scored and Alfredsson and Spezza had an assist each in a 4-2 loss to the Penguins, who now lead the best-of-seven affair 2-1.
“We had great scoring chances, our effort was there, we just didn’t bury our chances and (the Penguins) were very opportunistic,” said Clouston.
“We need contributions from everybody, not just those guys. They’re relied upon for offence and they’re going to need to produce, but I think we all have to play a little better in general. We missed two or three open nets, we had a goal disallowed so we just have to make good on our opportunities.”
On the other side of the ice, Pittsburgh is getting the contribution they need and expect from their top players. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist Sunday and has seven points in the first three games. Evgeni Malkin has three goals, including one Sunday, and four points so far.
Spezza, Alfredsson and Fisher have a goal between them and that came Sunday from Fisher, who also has an assist. Spezza and Alfredsson have three assists each.
“We just have to find a way to get that goal and get the lead. We’re all in this together,” Alfredsson said.
“There are a lot of things when you lose that you need to do better, it’s not just one thing. Everybody is pulling hard and giving their best.”
Trailing 1-0 late in the first period the Senators had a goal disallowed when video review showed that Peter Regin had kicked the puck into the net behind Marc-Andre Fleury. They missed some empty nets and Fleury helped his own cause when he knocked the puck away as it teetered on the goal-line after a deflection.
“We did some good things and had some chances, we just have to get a break,” Fisher said.
“We’re going out and we’re working. We’re not going to worry about anything more than doing our job. It’s a team effort and we all just have to stick to that plan and embrace the challenge Tuesday (in Game 4).”
The good news for the Senators is that Regin, who has two goals in the series, Chris Neil, Chris Kelly and Jarko Ruutu are providing a spark and creating problems for the Penguins.
“(Regin has) played unreal. He’s played great. He’s skating well, he’s shooting the puck and getting his nose dirty. That’s what we need a little more of,” said Fisher.
Regin also set up Fisher for the Senators’ first goal Sunday when he carried the puck around the Pittsburgh net and fed Fisher a perfect pass to tie the game 1-1.
Malkin and Crosby scored before the end of the period, then Bill Guerin gave the Penguins a 4-1 lead early in the third. Matt Cullen closed out the scoring for the Senators.
“We’re upset and it’s frustrating,” Spezza said.
“It sucks losing, especially here at home, but we’re not getting the bounces so we’re going to have to create our opportunities.”