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RECAP: Senators 4, Oilers 1

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB – “We’re not happy. This is frustrating.”

That was Oilers winger Jordan Eberle, who scored the team’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the visiting Ottawa Senators Tuesday night. The loss was a disappointing fifth straight for an Oilers club that finds itself at the bottom of the NHL standings.

“There were some who should be embarrassed when they leave,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said of his team following the loss.

Alex Chiasson’s goal early in the third gave the Senators enough cushion, and Mark Stone added the empty-net insurance, as the Senators avenged their 7-2 loss to the Oil back on February 4.

“We’re not happy with how it’s going,” said Eberle. “Early in the game, I don’t think we were hard enough. We were getting out-muscled, out-battled and out-competed to some pucks. I thought we had a bit of a push there at the end of the second and, obviously, got that goal and almost had a couple more late next shift. Then we let a deflating goal go in in the third and we didn’t really have pushback after that.”

At 12:50 of the first, Nick Paul scored his first career NHL goal to put Ottawa up 1-0. A shot from the slot was initially stopped, but Paul cleaned up the garbage at the side of the net. Chris Wideman and former Edmonton Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar recorded the assists.

With less than 30 seconds to play in the first, Oilers winger Benoit Pouliot skated down the ice and through the Senators on his way to setting up a scoring chance. The Oilers couldn’t capitalize on the doorstep, but drew a penalty with 20 seconds to go in the frame. Erik Karlsson slashed Eberle, giving Edmonton a man advantage to start the second period.

The Oilers managed a few looks on that power play, but were unable to pot one behind Craig Anderson.

Lazar’s line hemmed the Oilers in their zone for a long shift shortly after that power play’s conclusion. However, Oilers goalie Cam Talbot eventually covered to keep the score 1-0.

Stone’s backhand pass set up Zack Smith for a one-timer on an Ottawa power play to give the Senators a 2-0 lead at 5:53 of the second. Mika Zibanejad had the secondary helper.

It took until the 18:14 mark of the second for Edmonton to get on the board. Eberle buried a rebound at the side of the net for his 19th goal of the season. He was assisted by Pouliot and Brandon Davison. The goal made it 2-1 Ottawa heading into the third.

The tide seemed to be turning in the Oilers direction as a shift by their third line drew a penalty prior to the Eberle goal, following some sustained zone time. Then, following the Eberle goal, the Oilers were buzzing offensively as time expired in the period.

The momentum fizzled, however, as Ottawa jumped ahead 3-1 at 3:31 of the third. Smith centred for Chiasson and he fired a wrister past Talbot.

“The third goal broke our back, broke our spirit, broke our back with the way they got it, how easy it was, I can go on and on but it’s over with,” said McLellan.

That same third line that was effective earlier in the game for the Oilers nearly drew their team within one with under seven minutes to play. Nail Yakupov broke in alone on Anderson but was denied by the pads of the netminder.

Ottawa got the empty-net insurance marker at 16:39 of the final frame from Stone, assisted by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, to close out their win.

“I have a huge concern because the spirit of the team isn’t where it needs to be, just individually and as a group,” said McLellan. “There has to be 10 guys in there that have so much pride they pull the rest of the guys along. We’ll see what happens over the next six or seven days. Maybe there are some guys waiting for that, but I don’t know. It’s got to get better or we’ve got to make huge, huge changes.”

The Oilers now hit the road for a back-to-back trip to California. They play the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
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