The Senators faced a familiar face in net tonight as they looked for a win after six straight losses, but Brian Elliott and the St. Louis Blues closed the door on the Sens, winning Chris Phillips' 999th game by a 3-1 score.
Ottawa appeared to come out of the gate strong, getting two good chances within the opening minute. Unfortunately, the wheels started falling off shortly afterward, with the Blues getting two quick goals in the game's first five minutes. The first was a Roman Polak point shot that was tipped in by Chris Porter less than two minutes in, while the second came as David Perron was allowed to walk right in front of Craig Anderson and bury it. After letting in two goals on four shots, Anderson was pulled.
After getting down by two, the Senators started to improve. Daniel Alfredsson got the team on the board with a powerplay goal less than a minute into the second period, bringing the Senators within one. The team started to control the play a bit, and a comeback seemed possible. Unfortunately, the Blues played terrific defense -- the team is simply relentless within their own zone -- and managed to capitalize on an Erik Karlsson giveaway as David Perron scored his second of the game to give his team another two-goal lead.
Unforunately, that 3-1 score would remain for the rest of the game. Ottawa had their chances, but simply couldn't bury them. They finished ahead in the shots department 29-18, something that they've been surprisingly good at as of late (during this losing streak, they've outshot their opponents in 5 of 7 games).
Sens Zero: Craig Anderson
Neither of Anderson's goals against were particularly egregious -- the first was a nice tipped shot, while the second was more on the defense for allowing David Perron to walk out in front -- but 2 goals on 4 shots is a clear zero performance. We all knew that Anderson couldn't keep up his incredible performance during the team's winning streak, but he has to be better than he has recently.
Sens Killer: Brian Elliott/Ken Hitchcock's defensive system
It's hard to disconnect the two, so I'll lump them together. Elliott had a fantastic game tonight, making several key saves when he had to. The Blues kept the Senators to the perimeter, and on any rare rebounds given up by Elliott, the Blues quickly cleared the front of the net. Textbook defensive play tonight from the Blues.
Sens Hero: Daniel Alfredsson
Alfie has been the team's best player through pretty much every game of the slump, and tonight was no exception. He had the team's only goal, was not on the ice for a goal against, and even won the only faceoff he took. Bless that man.
Sens Thumbs Up: Chris Phillips
Phillips, whose #4 was painted on the ice in recognition of his impending 1000th game, showed an unusual amount of confidence in the offensive zone tonight. He made crisp passes, pinched in at appropriate times, and had 3 shots on net.
Sens Zero: Lack of goal scoring
As much as people would like to blame this loss (and many others) on Craig Anderson, the Senators' offense simply needs to be better. They had four powerplays tonight, and only had a single goal. As Travis Yost points out, the team hasn't had an even strength goal in ten periods. Yikes.
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