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Sens Chase Ward and Top Canes, 4-2

The Ottawa Senators scored three goals on just nine shots in the decisive first period, and the home team held on the rest of the way to defeat Carolina, 4-2.  The Canes out-shot the Sens in each and every period and ended up with a total of 43 shots on goal compared to 22 for Ottawa.

The Hurricanes brought out Michael Leighton to start the second period giving Cam Ward the rest of the night off, but during the very first powerplay chance for the Sens, Jason Spezza buried another shot making the score 4-1, and for all intents and purposes put the game out of reach.

In fairness to Ward he made a couple of decent saves to start off the game, plus the Canes had several defensive breakdowns, but Mike Comrie faked him out and made him look bad just 11 clicks before the end of the period and that would be enough for the frustrated goalie. 

Dany Heatley started off the scoring on a nice pass from Daniel Alfredsson.  But Patrick Eaves was able to answer that tally just 17 seconds later when he beat Alex Auld on the short side.  Then just 29 seconds after that, somehow Chris Kelly found himself all alone and he put the Senators back in front, 2-1.  Next came Comrie's goal and Spezza's back-breaker.

With the score 4-1 and with the Canes scrambling on the powerplay late in the second period, Anton Babchuk blasted in a shot from the top of the circle to give Caniacs some hope, but that would be the last time Auld would allow a goal.

The Hurricanes would fire 16 more shots on target in the final period, but there would be no more scoring.  The team will have to put the disappointment of the loss behind them quickly because they face a Buffalo squad on Thursday night for an even more important game.

Game Notes:

The Canes blew a perfect opportunity because both Buffalo and Florida lost and they could have hopped over their two rivals in the standings.  Now this loss places even more importance on the game Thursday night against the Sabres, who will be missing their best two players, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek

Anton Babchuk had a pretty decent game.  He played almost 23 minutes, scored a powerplay goal, broke up a couple of odd man rushes, and finished with a plus/minus of "even" for the night.

Coach Paul Maurice tinkered with the lines, exchanging Ray Whitney with Sergei Samsonov.  Will he keep tinkering, or switch the lines back the way they were?  Keep in mind, the Canes scored 15 goals in the previous three games after having a rough time scoring most of the season.

Carolina won a paltry 37% of their faceoffs with Staal winning 33%, Cullen  42%, and Brind'Amour 43%.  

Eric Staal once again led the team with 9 shots on goal.   He remains second in the NHL at that stat, second only to "Alexander the Great."

Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Gleason, and Nic Wallin led the team with 3 hits each.  Mike Fisher had 8 for Ottawa.