The Ottawa Senators started the game strong and finished with a bang but it still wasn’t enough as they fell 5-4 to the Dallas Stars this afternoon, extending their losing streak to five games. Unfortunately for Sens fans this team continues to play parts of games but doesn’t seem to understand that it takes a 60 minute effort to win a game down the stretch drive. This is no longer the first part of the season when you can win games by playing periods of games, you need to outwork your opponent for a full sixty minutes.
Once again, goaltending failed the Senators as Pascal Leclaire never came up with the gamechanging save that was needed. He was pulled after allowing the Stars fifth goal on a play in which Sens forward Jarkko Ruutu was slashed therefore leading to a turnover and the Stars immediately scoring what led to be the gamewinner.
The duo of Chris Campoli and Erik Karlsson was miserable all game long. Karlsson saw some time with Andy Sutton but it was the soft duo of Campoli and Karlsson that got burned badly on the Stars fourth goal, a 2 on 1 break. You would think Cory Clouston would switch up the duo or take flat out take them off ice after such horrible play, instead he puts them right back out there to end the period. Karlsson was a minus four and I don’t want to hear that he is learning and young. You can’t have him in the line-up at this point of the season as his GAP CONTROL is brutal and he continues to put his team in a very difficult situation with his rookie mistakes.
Between the decision of giving Karlsson 20 minutes of icetime and the goaltending change, one has to wonder if Clouston is losing this team. On far too many occasions he is setting up a double standard with his players by holding some accoutable but by favouring others. Lets face it Leclaire wasn’t that great today but he couldn’t be faulted on many of the goals, yet when Elliott allows six goals in Atlanta 2 nights ago he leaves him in.
One bright note was the play of Jason Spezza who notched his third career hat trick and added an assist. The line of Spezza, Cullen and Alfredsson was buzzing all afternoon and created endless scoring chances but the 2nd and 3rd lines struggled to find the net. Kovalev and Fisher need to do far more if this team is going to be more productive offensively. The fourth line of Neil, Kelly and Ruutu were solid once again.
Ottawa ends their three game road trip in Montreal on Monday night and could be in seventh place in the Eastern Conference by that point which is extremly disappointing considering where this team was at just a few weeks ago.
With the way things are going at this point in the season the Sens can kiss the division title goodbye and will most likely back into the playoffs in the 7th or 8thspot while getting eliminated in 4 or 5 games in the first round of the playoffs.
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About the Author
Written by Kevin Lee
Kevin has had an extensive career as a sports writer and radio show host for almost 10 years. Kevin has covered the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA College Football and Basketball. From covering the BCS Championship Game to the Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals, he has done it all. He has been featured on numerous sports radio stations in Canada and the United States and often a weekly guest on numerous XM and Sirius Satellite radio shows. He has also had his work featured on FoxSports.com.