Game Recap – OTT @ NYI – Still Finding New Ways to Lose



The Ottawa Senators visited the New York Islanders in hopes of ending their 8 game losing streak.  Brian Elliott, who hasn’t won since Boxing Day got the start and Jason Spezza returned to the lineup coming off a shoulder injury that forced him to miss 15 games.  This is the first game of a 4-game trip that sees them go through Western Canada after this game.  The question of the evening is will the return of Spezza provide the spark needed to give this team some life?

The Senators dominated the first four minutes, with each line contributing a solid shift, and it looked like only a matter of time before they would capitalize on their chances.  However it was the Islanders who drew first blood at the 4:10 mark when Matt Moulson was left alone at the side of the net and slid the puck past Elliott.  The Senators answered right back 13 seconds later as a misplay by Islanders’ rookie goalie Kevin Poulin behind the net allowed Mike Fisher to steal the puck and pass it out to Chris Neil who evened the score.  Just over 5 minutes later, Elliott misplayed an easy shot, and the rebound went right to Michael Grabner, and the speedy winger buried it for a 2-1 Islanders lead.  So  much for the two worst offenses in the league.  Apparently their defenses aren’t much better.  Elliott continued to struggle to find his net and looked like a fish out of water.  Fisher evened the score at the 12:30 mark and Alex Kovalev gave the Senators the lead, scoring in his third consecutive game.  Chris Campoli earned assists on both markers.  However, that lead was also short lived as Rob Schremp tied it up 17 seconds later.  The first period ended 3-3, and it also spelled the end of Elliott’s night as Robin Lehner would be in the net to start the second.  Also of note is that Erik Karlsson was benched for the last 16 minutes as he was held responsible for allowing Moulson to be so wide open on the first Islander goal.

The teams settled down in the second period and played more fundamentally sound hockey.  The most notable event was a double-scary moment as a goalmouth scramble led to an apparent Islander goal and an injury to Robin Lehner.  However, Lehner shook it off and the goal was waved off due to incidental contact of Lehner.  There was a goalmouth scuffle, and Lehner got involved, which almost led to the Islanders’ second goalie fight in a week, but cooler heads prevailed.  That is, until the period was over and as the goalies were crossing paths to their respective dressing rooms, Lehner inexplicably elbowed Poulin.  The Senators were already shorthanded going into the third, and Lehner’s penalty made it an extended 5-on-3 to open the third.

Lehner’s selfishness came back to haunt him as the Islanders took the lead (for good) 1:39 in when Schremp scored his second of the game.  The rest of the period saw some desperation, and a late power play for the Senators came close, but empty.  A Frans Nielson  empty netter sealed the deal, and the final score was New York 5, Ottawa 3.


Jason Spezza  was held pointless, but was creative offensively and was 70% on faceoffs.

Chris Campoli  continues to play the best hockey of his career and was the best Senator on the ice.


Elliott is quickly playing his way out of the league, as he is lost in the net.  The RFA to be will have a hard time even landing a backup job next season.

 Robin Lehner played very well in relief, but his inexplicable penalty that had no involvement in the play was a rookie mental brain cramp and the Senators cannot afford those at this time.


3rd Star: Kevin Poulin, NYI:  After first period lapses, didn’t allow the next goal, and kept the Senators at bay allowing his club to find a way to win.

2nd Star: Chris Campoli, OTT: A pair of assists and showing flashes of being an offensive threat every shift out there.

1st Star: Rob Schremp, NYI: A pair of goals, including the game winner early in the third period.


Are the Senators’ even considering talking to Ray Emery?  It couldn’t hurt right now, as Lehner needs to mature, Elliott is struggling mightily and Leclaire is more fragile than a china doll.  Emery, if he is healthy, seems to have matured since his last tour in Ottawa, and is looking to prove he is recovered from his hip injury.  Signing him for the rest of the season at the league minimum might be something the team wants to consider.  At least it would be interesting as they play out the final months of the season.