Back to their losing ways; Oilers beat Sens 4-1

 

Alfredsson disagrees with coach’s assessment of defeat

 
 
 
 
Edmonton forward Taylor Hall (L) battles with Ottawa forward Mike Fisher (R) in the second period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
 
 

Edmonton forward Taylor Hall (L) battles with Ottawa forward Mike Fisher (R) in the second period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.

Photograph by: Wayne Cuddington, The Ottawa Citizen

More on This Story

 

OTTAWA — First came the on-ice embarrassment for the Ottawa Senators on Monday, a demoralizing 4-1 loss to the Western Conference basement-dwelling Edmonton Oilers.

Then came the loud public disagreement between coach Cory Clouston and captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Among the many criticisms of his team, Clouston said the Senators took the Oilers “lightly” and “didn’t respect our opponent,” comments that drew a sharp response from Alfredsson.

“I don’t know if I agree with that,” said the captain, suggesting the Senators’ second-period parade to the penalty box was responsible for taking away early momentum. “If you can say taking penalties is taking another team lightly. … He’s probably got a better view than I do, but I didn’t feel that way.”

The heat is indeed rising for Clouston and the Senators, who have lost six of their past eight games.

Rather than building upon Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and taking a positive climb back toward a playoff spot, Monday’s defeat was a devastating backward stumble. The Senators led 1-0 early on Nick Foligno’s first goal of the season, but the allowed the Oilers to hang around long enough to build up their confidence.

Tom Gilbert tied the game on a power play late in the second period and the Oilers finished off the Senators with third-period goals from Andrew Cogliano, Gilbert Brule and Taylor Hall, into an empty net.

Adding to the insult was the presence of 37-year-old Oilers goaltender Martin Gerber.

Dispatched to the minors by the Senators late in 2008-09, after a rocky three seasons here, he’s the unlikeliest of comeback stories. Gerber suffered a career-threatening injury in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League last season, started the season in Oklahoma City in the American Hockey League, was recalled to Edmonton following an injury to Nikolai Khabibulin and is 2-0 in his return to the big leagues.

His 22-save effort must have felt like sweet revenge.

“It’s always emotional to come back somewhere where you used to play,” he said.

Gerber’s save off Alfredsson on a shorthanded breakaway late in the second period was the turning point.

At the time, the Senators led 1-0, but seconds after Gerber’s save, Gilbert beat Senators goalie Brian Elliott, sending the teams into the third period tied 1-1.

“If I score there, we win the game and that changes everything,” said Alfredsson, who tried to beat Gerber with a shot low to the stick side. Gerber held his ground on the play.

“He has so many moves, it’s tough,” Gerber said. “You don’t want to guess. I thought he was going to go (top) shelf.”

The Oilers came into the ranked last in the West and 29th overall in the NHL, only one point ahead of the New York Islanders for dead last in the league.

They had allowed an NHL-high 88 goals against — an average of 4.0 per game. They’re also the NHL’s worst at killing penalties, sporting a 67.4-per-cent success rate coming into the game.

The Senators had every opportunity to take advantage of all that early on, in position to bury the Oilers early in the game.

Nick Foligno opened the scoring, finally getting his first goal of the season following a lucky bounce off the skate of Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid.

The Senators were then blessed with three first-period power plays, failing to convert on any of them, partly because of what Clouston labelled as a lack of focus.

“We came out strong in the first, had several opportunities to extend the lead, but after the first intermission we came out flat,” said Clouston. “We didn’t play the way we needed to play.”

Nobody can disagree with that.

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Edmonton forward Taylor Hall (L) battles with Ottawa forward Mike Fisher (R) in the second period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
 

Edmonton forward Taylor Hall (L) battles with Ottawa forward Mike Fisher (R) in the second period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.

Photograph by: Wayne Cuddington, The Ottawa Citizen

 
Edmonton forward Taylor Hall (L) battles with Ottawa forward Mike Fisher (R) in the second period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
Martin  Gerber of the Edmonton Oilers makes a save in front of Ottawa's  Jason Spezza on Monday at Scotiabank Place.
Edmonton goalie Martin Gerber is all smiles as the Ottawa Senators are beaten by the Edmonton Oilers, 4 - 1, in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
Edmonton goalie Martin Gerber is hugged by Jean-Francois Jacques by at the end of the game which saw the Ottawa Senators beaten by the Edmonton Oilers, 4 - 1, in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
Edmonton goalie Martin Gerber is given a head bump by Tom Gilbert (R) at the end of the game which saw the Ottawa Senators beaten by the Edmonton Oilers, 4 - 1, in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
Edmonton goalie Martin Gerber deep in thought in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
Edmonton forward Dustin Penner has Ottawa denfenceman Erik Karlsson to deal with as he looks for the puck on a power play in the second period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010. (P
Ottawa Senator Jason Spezza (C) jumps out of the way of a shot that ends up in the pads of Martin Gerber (L) with Tom Gilbert (R) looking on in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
With Dustin Penner looking degected (L), Nick Foligno (R) celebrates his first goal of the season in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
Edmonton goalie Martin Gerber dives for the puck in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
Ottawa Senator Nick Foligno (L) celebrates his first goal of the season with Sergei Gonchar (C) and Chris Neil (R) in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Scotiabank Place In Ottawa, Ontario, November29,2010.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice