The Senators gave up four unanswered goals tonight as they let the Dallas Stars back into the game and then handed over the 5-3 win to them. Ottawa who trailed early in the game fought back to tie and eventually take a 2 goal lead. By then you would think they were free and clear to another win and a shot at first overall in the East. But things have a way of unravelling at the wrong time.
For the Sens it was a substandard performance from Patrick Lalime, who let in a couple of questionable goals, was out of position too often and just plain had a lousy game. Pierre Turgeon and Mike Modano scored 1 minute and five seconds apart to bring the Stars to a tie, power play and shorthanded goals provided the bulk of the scoring in the hard hitting affair.
An "excessive" hit, was how Curtis Leschyshyn described the pasting he took at the hands of Dallas's Steve Ott. The hit which resulted in over 20 sticthes to the face of Leschyshy provided Ottawa with a five minute power play, as Ott received a major and game expulsion for his cheap shot. Ottawa took advantage of the power to play to add to their lead, and then added a short handed goal to seemingly pull away for good. Then for some reason they chose to hand the game back to the Stars without a complaint.
The loss will give a momentary pause for those Sens fans who feel that goaltending is still the fatal flaw in the Sens Stanley Cup hopes. The poor performance by Lalime tonight will not hush those critics who claim that Lalime is an untested goaltender who won't be able to get them deep into the playoff rounds.
Hopefully, this was just a brain cramp game. For Lalime and for the team, they let a win get away tonight and with it the chance to send a message; that they can dominate any team on any night. The team will regroup and work on the problem areas and get back to starting a new streak.