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Following a lengthy road trip that saw the team pick up just three out of a possible 10 points, the Ottawa Senators could be excused for looking forward to some home cooking on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately for the Senators, Jaroslav Halak did not follow the recipe.

Despite firing 46 shots at the Canadiens' net, they were only able to beat the Montreal Canadiens' goaltender keeper once. Compounding the problem was the fact the team went 0-for-7 with the man advantage.

"Some nights the pucks go in when you get that many shots, sometimes they don't," stated forward Jason Spezza following the loss.

Spezza has had a particularly difficult time recently getting pucks to go in. With only three goals on the season, the Mississauga native is on pace for just eight goals, which would be his lowest output since his rookie campaign.

While Spezza has struggled mightily this season, he is far from alone. Just last week when the Senators were on the road, team owner Eugene Melnyk publicly stated that the Sens needed to get a lot more production from their star players. Without naming names, it was clear that Melnyk's finger was pointed directly at Spezza and linemate Alex Kovalev.

Melnyk green-lighted the signing of the enigmatic Russian winger to a two-year, $10 million contract in the off-season, but has yet to see much return on his investment. With the knowledge that Dany Heatley would likely be starting the season elsewhere, the Senators were hoping that Kovalev would help replace some of the offensive punch lost by Heatley's departure. However, the 36-year old Kovalev has found the back of the net only four times this season and is stuck smack dab in the middle of a 15-game goalless streak.

Following Tuesday's loss to the Canadiens, Kovalev stated that he was not concerned with his lack of production.

"I'm not thinking about it," Kovalev said. "I'm just playing the game. Whatever happens happens."

He also stated that Melnyk's message could easily be resolved by the team putting together a string of victories.

"We definitely need to win some games and then we won't have to deal with that. It's a message not for me or for anybody; it's a message for the whole team."

It is not all doom and gloom in the Nation's capital. The Senators received some good news yesterday as number one netminder Pascal Leclaire skated with full equipment on and faced shots for the first time since fracturing his cheekbone in a freak accident on Nov. 25. At practice Wednesday, head coach Cory Clouston expected Leclaire to miss another 10 to 14 days.

"It's good that he was able to face shots," General manager Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Sun. "The next step is to get him back to the point where he's able to practice with the team," said Murray. "We're not going to rush him back.

"We're going to make sure everything is okay and we don't want him to risk the possibility of getting it injured again."

The Senators would love to get their No. 1 back, as they have struggled in his absence. After briefly holding the Northeast Division lead, the team has lost five of seven games without Leclaire. Backup Brian Elliott has allowed 19 goals in his past five games and appears to be battling the puck.

Elliott will have the opportunity to right the ship on Thursday when the Senators travel to Philadelphia to face a Flyers team that has only two wins in their last 10 games and recently fired head coach John Stevens.
If it's not one thing, it's something else with the Sens.

It almost seems like a case of burnout with the guys that have been there awhile(Spezza, Alfie, etc). Having a lazy guy like Kovalev there can only make it worse. Add 3 choaching
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