OTTAWA – The Senators proved on Friday you won’t win if you can’t control the puck.
Ottawa, which struggled all night with puck possession and making passes, had 16 giveaways to the Ducks two en route to a 2-1 defeat.
“They didn’t give us a lot of time and space to do anything and they were, I thought, for the most part better than we were,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean. “We turned over pucks in the first period and we turned over pucks all night long.”
The win came as a welcome relief for the Ducks, who are on their longest road trip of the season at eight games in 15 days. They were losers of their first two, including a 4-1 loss to Montreal Thursday night.
“Our guys did a great job responding and getting back to the hockey that we like to play,” said Ryan Getzlaf. “After back-to-back games you can’t ask for anything else. Our guys did a great job parking (Thursday’s) loss and focusing on this one.”
Focus, or lack thereof, seemed to be an issue for the Senators as both Anaheim goals were a result of turnovers .
“It’s a game of mistakes,” said Senators goalie Craig Anderson. “They made mistakes also, but we didn’t capitalize. When we had our opportunities their goalie made some good saves or we missed our chances.”
Patrick Maroon and Getzlaf scored for the Ducks (7-3-0) as Frederik Andersen made 26 saves for the victory.
Mika Zibanejad scored the lone goal for the Senators (4-3-2). Anderson stopped 26 shots in defeat.
The Senators best period was the third, but Andersen, who was making his first start for Anaheim, stopped all 12 shots he faced.
“I just want to build on this,” said Andersen. “It was fun. It was nice to get a win.”
For his part Anderson made a couple of great saves late in the third to give the Senators a chance in the final minute with the extra man, but Ottawa was unable to score.
Maroon opened the scoring at the seven-minute mark of the first period when he took a pass from Corey Perry and beat Anderson with a wrist shot.
A communication breakdown between defenceman Erik Karlsson and Anderson led to the Ducks second goal. Karlsson took the puck behind Ottawa’s net but mishandled it, allowing Perry to grab it and put it out front where once again Karlsson struggled to clear it. Eventually Getzlaf jumped on the puck and buried it.
“I don’t think we were there from the start,” said Karlsson. “We caught a couple of really bad breaks and we’re down two goals. We’re running up hill the whole game.”
The Senators cut the lead in half midway through the second on Zibanejad’s power-play goal, which came as a result of some great work by Cory Conacher, who took a beating in the crease to create a screen.
Zibanejad, who was recalled Tuesday, now has a goal and an assist in his last two games and was rewarded for his effort on the night as he saw time on the top line.
“It’s nice to get that confidence up and be able to contribute to the team with goals and good play, but it’s a tough loss,” said Zibanejad.
Ottawa then took three straight minor penalties. Its only saving grace was the fact the Ducks power play has struggled of late.
“Those (penalties) are Duracell drainers for sure,” said MacLean. “The opposition put us under some pressure again and forced us to take penalties. That’s what good teams do to you and that’s what speed does to you.”
The Senators had a great opportunity to tie the game early in the third with the man advantage, but Clarke MacArthur, who is still looking for his first of the season, wasn’t able to bury a loose puck.
This was the second and final meeting between the two teams this season.
Notes: D Jared Cowen played his 100th NHL career game. C Jean-Gabriel Pageau, LW Matt Kassian and D Patrick Wiercioch were a healthy scratch for the Senators…Anaheim’s RW Teemu Selanne, RW Dustin Penner (concussion, out indefinitely) and D Mark Fistric did not play. The Ducks announced post-game that G Frederik Andersen signed a two-year contract extension. Terms of the agrrement were not disclosed.