For the third straight game, the Senators found themselves on the wrong end of important, game changing calls. As a team they have to take the blame for this slump but the stripes certainly haven't done them any favours.
First periods have not been pretty for MacLean's group as of late and tonight was no different. The Sens were flat in the opening frame and for the 7th straight game found themselves down 1-0. And unfortunately for the Senators things didn't really opened up in the second. Phoenix is a tough defensive team but a fatigued Ottawa team just didn't have the legs to really force them to defend.
Coyotes got up by a pair but Daniel Alfredsson's 17th of the season gave Ottawa some life heading into the final period.
Vrbata struck early in the third period to restore the two goal lead only to see Chris Neil respond 14 seconds later. Alfredsson appeared to tie the game in the third but the goal was waved off (Video from SensTown) as the officials called Nick Foligno for goaltender interference. Not sure Foligno had anywhere else to go on the play although I am rarely certain of any of the calls made in this league lately.
While the Senators have not played their best hockey of late, the tail end of this road trip was dictated by the officials. When MacLean made that comment in the press the other day, the officials did not like it and it shows.
The Sens now head into the All Star Break with a 27-19-6 record and 60 points. That is good enough for 6th place in the Eastern Conference but the teams behind them are not far behind and all have games in hand.
- For Kyle Turris, this was his first game in Phoenix since the mid-season trade and he was welcomed "home" by a chorus of boos and a number of hits from veteran defenceman Adrian Aucoin. Turris finished the game with 17:50 of ice time and a single shot on goal.
- Heading into the month of January, analysts and fans labeled this as a defining stretch for the club. Facing a road heavy schedule and a number of tough opponents, Ottawa had to find a way to stay competitive. While they faded heading into the break, the team has to be happy with the way the month went overall. Ottawa finished with an 8-4-1 record with a game against the Bruins to close out the month post All Star break.
- Time for Sens fans to put the frustration of the last few games in the rearview and look forward to what is in store the next few days. NHL All Star Weekend is going to be fun for fans of all ages and it all kicks of with the opening of the NHL Fan Fair and the Fantasy Draft, both set for Thursday.