Sens take another beating in California
Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson lunges to stop a shot during the second period against the Senators at the Honda Center on Sunday. (Getty Images)
It was a long, lost weekend for the Ottawa Senators, a long way from home.
The Anaheim Ducks squeezed the life out of the Senators in a 5-1 win at the Honda Centre on Sunday afternoon. In the process, the defeat capped a California weekend washout for the Senators, who also fell 4-1 to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
As a result, the Senators will limp home to Ottawa on Monday with only a single win from their four-game, eight-day road trip.
Senators coach Guy Boucher didn’t mince words about his disappointment.
“It was a no show, all around,” said Boucher. “Not good. Not good. We wanted to rebound from (Saturday). They out-competed us, they out-muscled us on the boards, they were first on puck, they had more of a shooting mentality than we did, they did a better job in front of our goalie’s net than we did in front of theirs.”
Is that all?
No, it isn’t. Boucher was also steaming about the fact the Senators have also yielded a hat trick of power-play goals in consecutive games.
On top of that, the Senators will face the most difficult of situations — the first home game after a long road trip — when they return to action Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks at Canadian Tire Centre.
On Sunday, the Ducks jumped out early and after capitalizing on a pair of late first period power plays, never appeared in danger of losing control of the contest.
Joseph Cramarossa, Corey Perry, Antoine Vermette, Nick Ritchie and Sami Vatanen scored for the Ducks. Ryan Dzingel scored the lone Senators goal.
“They’re a good team,” said captain Erik Karlsson. “They have a lot of good players and they played a hard game on us. They didn’t give us any opportunity to get anything going on them. We couldn’t find a way to break through that. They played a better game than us right from the start.”
Call him captain of the understatement, too.
Desperately searching for a spark, Boucher pulled starting goaltender Mike Condon after the first period. Condon, who stopped 10 of 13 shots, made way for back-up Andrew Hammond. Hammond stopped 17 of 19 shots in his first NHL action since Oct. 28.
The defence also took a hit. Already playing without defenceman Mark Borowiecki, who was handed a two-game suspension for his hit from behind on the Kings’ Tyler Toffoli, the Senators lost Chris Wideman early in the game after he took a puck in the nose.
If there is any good news from the beleaguered blueline, it’s that rookie Andreas Englund was forced into seeing semi-regular duty for the first time in his young career.
Give the Ducks their due. Based on the small sample size of the Senators three stops on the West Coast, they appear to be the most solid and balanced of the California teams.
The Senators penalty killers had no answers in the first period as the Ducks turned a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 lead.
Both goals came following bad bounces off Senators defencemen.
Perry, stationed in his familiar office spot in front of the net, pounced on a loose puck after it deflected off Dion Phaneuf to make it 2-1.
With only 47 seconds remaining in the opening period, ex-Senator Vermette cashed in. Vermette’s wild shot from the side boards banked in off Cody Ceci’s skate, past Condon.
The Ducks got off to a quick start, hemming the Senators in their own zone in the opening minutes. At the 2:58 mark, Cramarossa cashed in, left all alone by Phil Varone in front of Condon.
Varone, recalled from Binghamton of the AHL last Tuesday, replaced Buddy Robinson in the lineup.
Dzingel got that back on a Senators power play five minutes later, finishing off a pretty passing play involving Derick Brassard and Bobby Ryan.
The tie game, however, only lasted for two minutes before Perry restored the Ducks lead.
Ritchie scored for the Ducks in the second and Vatanen completed the romp in the third with yet another power-play goal.
Sens coach slams penalty kill
ANAHEIM — There was fire in Guy Boucher’s eyes and steam coming out of his ears as the Senators packed their bags at the Honda Center Sunday afternoon.
The Senators coach wasn’t accepting any rationale for what he described as a “no show” to conclude the four-game road trip.
“All around, not at all what you would hope for the last game on the trip,” he said. “And I know it’s a back-to-back, but that’s no excuse. We’ve done back-to-backs before where we have had a lot of energy and a lot of compete level.”
Boucher acknowledges that Corey Perry’s power-play goal was the result of a bad bounce, but he wasn’t taking his penalty killing units off the hook. They’ve yielded six power-play goals in the past two games.
“When you give that many (power-play goals) in a short period of time, in two games, definitely we have to reflect on that,” he said. “We were top five in the league before those two games, we were doing something very good before. And now it’s two bad games. But today, I think it goes with the rest. It’s not just something apart from the rest. It’s definitely the all-around game that we don’t want to happen.”
Boucher says he lifted starting goaltender Mike Condon for Andrew Hammond after the first period because he was looking for a spark.
“If our players were in the game, if we were playing very well and it was the same score, probably I would have done something different,” he said. “But I saw right away that we weren’t in this game, so there’s no use having (Condon) in there and letting him live that. After all the good stuff he has given us, I don’t think he deserved that.”