Islanders can't find enough to beat Ottawa

Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators uses his Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators uses his leg to protect the puck from Colin McDonald of the Islanders. (Feb. 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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KANATA, Ontario -- Searching for positive signs in the aftermath of another loss wasn't too difficult a task for the Islanders after a 3-1 defeat to the Senators Tuesday night.

The Isles pumped 38 shots on Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson. The Isles controlled play for long stretches, they worked the corners and drove the net.

But it wasn't enough, and nothing short of two points is enough now. Travis Hamonic said just that after the Isles' seventh regulation loss in the last nine games.

"Running into a hot goaltender is an easy excuse -- we've got to find a way," said Hamonic, whose wrist shot past Anderson 2:44 into the third period brought the Isles within a goal, but they could get no closer. "I thought we played a good game, but we've got to be better."

The mistakes were far, far fewer than in Monday's historic 7-0 loss to the Flyers at Nassau Coliseum. But the mistakes were magnified Tuesday night: Kyle Okposo, who did solid work along the boards to free the puck that ended up on Hamonic's stick for the lone goal, took a bad offensive-zone penalty 5:37 into the second period with the game scoreless.

Just 24 seconds later, Colin Greening got a second whack at a puck in the slot and beat Rick DiPietro to put Ottawa in front, even though the Isles owned the game from the drop of the puck to start the second.

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And DiPietro, now 0-3-0 this season, simply didn't do enough to steady his team for a run at a victory. He missed Senators rookie Andre Benoit's soft one-timer from the point at 8:37 of the second to drop the Isles into a 2-0 hole, then he literally dropped one, another softie by another Senators rookie, Dave Dziurzynski, who followed his shot and popped the loose puck over DiPietro with 2:35 to play to seal it.

The Senators have won two straight despite missing their three best players: forwards Jason Spezza (back surgery) and Milan Michalek (knee) and reigning Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson (torn Achilles).

"At this point, you need results," DiPietro said. "But it was encouraging to see guys playing hard."

Capuano again refused to comment on DiPietro's performance, as he did after the goalie's previous game, a 6-4 loss to the Hurricanes nine days ago.

"It's a loss," Capuano said, "but the guys obviously worked hard. We couldn't finish."

It wasn't for a lack of chances. Josh Bailey rang a backhand off the crossbar late in a scoreless first period and John Tavares, who battled with physical Senators rookie defenseman Eric Gryba throughout the game, had two good chances in the second, both turned aside by Anderson.

It was a far cry from the effort and output on Monday before a sellout home crowd, when a quick 1-0 deficit snowballed into the worst home shutout loss in franchise history.

"We challenged ourselves to be better, and we were. We did some good things," said Tavares, who took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the final minute for barking at an official. "We just didn't capitalize."

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