TORONTO - March has not been kind to the Toronto Marlies.
After winning nine of 12 games in February, the Marlies' offence is sputtering and they are still searching for their first win this month.
Robin Lehner turned away all 22 shots he faced as the Binghamton Senators shut out the Marlies 2-0 in an AHL matinee Wednesday. It was Toronto's third straight loss, all of which have come since the beginning of March. They've managed just three goals in that stretch.
"We were unbeatable in February and now we're in a little bit of a funk with our offence," said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. "I like the way we're playing defensively but we're just going to go back to the basics on offence."
Mark Borowiecki opened the scoring in the second period when his snap shot from the hash marks beat Ben Scrivens over his catching glove.
"I was there but it was a good shot that just beat me," Scrivens said of the goal that would end up being the winner.
Corey Cowick added an empty-net goal in the final minute of the game to secure the victory for the Senators, who won for the first time in three games.
Greg Scott and Nazem Kadri each had seven shots on goal for the Marlies (32-21-7) but neither was able to beat Lehner, who was playing in his first game since being sent down by the Ottawa Senators earlier this week.
"I thought Nazem was going, Greg Scott was getting chances but at the end of the game you have 22 shots on net and they (Scott and Kadri) have 14," said Eakins. "We were having a really hard time getting the puck to net."
Scrivens made 36 saves to earn the game's second star.
"I thought Ben was good today," said Eakins. "He made a couple great saves in the first period to keep us going."
Binghamton outshot Toronto 13-7 in the first period but wasn't able to get the puck past Scrivens, who made three big saves when his team was short-handed in the closing minutes of the period.
Neither club could score with the man advantage as both teams finished 0-for-3 on the power play.
The Senators (24-32-4) maintained their pressure through the second, outshooting Toronto 15-7. Borowiecki finally put the Senators on the board at 9:07 when he was given ample time to shoot after taking a cross-ice pass from right-winger Andre Petersson.
The Marlies played a better third period thanks to some line shuffling from Eakins. But it wasn't enough as Binghamton outshot Toronto 10-8 and finished the game with an empty-net goal at 19:35.
"I thought our guys were working hard, I was just looking for something smart chemistry-wise," Eakins said of changing up the top lines.
With the recent struggles on offence, Eakins believes the Marlies need to simplify the game and start shooting the puck more.
"They want to try to look after each other and set each other up and right now we're looking for some more selfish players," said Eakins.
Despite the recent skid, the Marlies still hold a six-point lead over the Rochester Americans for first place in the North Division.
They'll continue their quest for a win in March on Friday in Hamilton.