NHL: Senators let lead slip away in loss to Wild

OTTAWA, ON – Welcome to the roller-coaster ride that is the Ottawa Senators 2017-18 season.

Trying to win three straight games for only the second time this season, the Senators let a two-goal second-period lead slip away as the Minnesota Wild scored five straight goals to hand Ottawa a 6-4 loss in front of a sparse gathering of 13,804 on Tuesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.

While captain Erik Karlsson scored twice, Derick Brassard and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also beat Minny backup Alex Stalock and that’s where the scoring stopped for Ottawa.

No, Craig Anderson didn’t have his best night, but he shouldn’t get all the blame because the Senators weren’t very good in their own zone.

If the Senators do have any hope of making the playoffs, this can’t happen.

Jonas Brodin scored the winner in the third on a controversial goal while Eric Staal scored twice. Nate Prosser, Mikko Koivu and Chris Stewart also chipped in for the Wild.

Brassard scored late with the goalie pulled and Ottawa on the power play to pull the Senators within two goals.

The Senators challenged for goalie interference on Brodin’s effort at 4:57 of the third period that gave the Wild a 5-3 lead. It looked like Nino Niederreiter didn’t allow Anderson to move in his crease, but after further review, the goal stood and Ottawa found itself in a huge hole.

Last year, the Senators were money when they got in front by two goals, but this year they’ve had a difficult time closing out the opponent. Coming off two straight wins over the New York Rangers on Wednesday and the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, the Senators were hoping to build off those.

Before this game, Boucher had seen a shift in the way his team was playing and he felt the 3-0 victory over the Habs at Lansdowne Park in the outdoor game on Saturday might help Ottawa’s mood as it moved back indoors.

Stalock made a big save on Bobby Ryan with the Senators trailing 4-3.

They gave themselves a chance in this one and then fell apart completely.

The Senators have had all kinds of issues scoring all season, however, they didn’t seem to have any problem against the Wild. Unfortunately, through 40 minutes, they were tied 3-3 after they surrendered a two-goal lead — which included an effort by Koivu to tie it with 55 seconds left on the clock.

Really, the Senators looked like they deserved better, but they weren’t able to hold the lead or extend it, either. Stalock made huge back-to-back stops on Nate Thompson and Tom Pyatt on the rebound with five minutes.

For the second straight game, Pageau chipped in where it counts. He scored his fifth of the season by beating Stalock from the slot to give the club a 3-1 lead at 5:44 of the second, but the Wild pulled back into the game when Stewart went to the net untouched to beat Anderson at 10:19.

Karlsson’s second of the game on a shot from the point on the power play gave the club a 2-1 lead at 1:08 of the second. The goal with the man-advantage ended a four-game drought for the power play.

There wasn’t a lot Anderson could do as the Wild tied it up 1-1 at 11:11 of the first. Staal scored his 13th when he tipped a Ryan Suter shot from the point home.

Karlsson, who scored his first NHL career goal against the Wild on Dec. 19, 2009, got the club on the board early. He fired a shot from the point that found its by a screened Stalock at 2:08.

The Senators will head to the Sunshine State to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night and then close out the pre-Christmas schedule Saturday against the Florida Panthers.