GARIOUSH: The Ottawa Senators suffered an ugly loss to the San Jose Sharks to start a four-game road trip

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LAS VEGAS — The odds of the Ottawa Senators making the playoffs go on and on.

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A season that started very wrongly for the Senators has gone from bad to worse, and it was downright ugly in a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Monday night that this four-game wild ride began.

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While it’s chilly in Ottawa, the heat is building for this group to rectify that after the club lost for the 10th time in 12 games.

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This losing streak shows no signs of stopping. General Manager Pierre Dorion and Coach D.J. Smith search for answers but as the Senators prepare for their pole quarter of the season, reality shows that this will be the sixth year in a row that the club will not make the playoffs.

Alternate captain Claude Giroud doesn’t think there’s any point in trying to focus on making the qualifiers. For now, the key is for this group to work together and start leveraging their capabilities.

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“We’re frustrated now. We want to play the right way and we want to do the right things but we’re just saying it. We have to go out there and actually do it,” said Giroud.

“You have to walk it in small steps. You have to take it one game at a time. You can’t look at the big picture, look at the record and see that it’s going to be difficult to get back to where the game is.

“For us, we just have to worry about (playing) Vegas now and that’s how you gain confidence. You start with one game and you build it up. Last two games, it’s just not good enough.”

The scenario in losing in San Jose was different. The Senators had a strong first period effort and outscored the Sharks 13-3, but the game was tied 1-1.

Goaltender Cam Talbot allowed two bad goals in the first five minutes of the second half, sealing the Senators’ fate. Talbot gave up three goals on seven shots and had a poor . 571 save percentage in this game.

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Noah Gregor #73 of the San Jose Sharks kicks a field goal against Cam Talbot #33 of the Ottawa Senators during the first period of an NHL hockey game at SAP Center on November 21, 2022 in San Jose, California.
Noah Gregor #73 of the San Jose Sharks kicks a field goal against Cam Talbot #33 of the Ottawa Senators during the first period of an NHL hockey game at SAP Center on November 21, 2022 in San Jose, California. Photo by Theron W Henderson /Getty Images

Anton Forsberg had his own struggles, but by the time he got to the match, the score was already decided. From there, it was a mopping-up mission, and you had no feeling the Senators would ever find their way back into this one.

The Senators have to do a better job of handling adversity, especially now that they’re scoring.

“When someone scores, it’s important that you play the next shift the way you want to, and in our structure,” Giroud said. “We have a good game plan, we just have to execute it there.”

If that sounds like an unwelcome endorsement for coach DJ Smith then that’s exactly what Giro is getting at. Smith has taken it all over and the Senators have been steadfast in their support of the coach, but the players know this can’t continue.

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The last two games weren’t good enough, but neither of them were in goalkeeping. It was the second game in a row that Smith had switched his forward early in the second period, not a good trend.

Poor goals emptied the bench and only captain Brady Tkachuk could beat Kapu Kahkonen.

It was Ottawa’s 10th loss in 12 games and this run in the Western Conference is only going to get tough.

When the final buzzer sounded at the end of the second, the Senators were trailing 4-1 and the game was over. Thomas Hertel scored on the power play with 4:04 minutes left to secure San Jose’s three-goal lead.

Earlier, the Sharks pulled out to a 2-1 lead at 1:18 of the first after former Ottawa captain Erik Carlson did some good work in the area. Timo Meyer beat Talbot from a bad angle, that shouldn’t have happened.

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“Sometimes when you’re doing the right things and they don’t get rewarded and they score, you sigh a little bit and say, ‘Man,’” said veteran defenseman Nick Holden. “We need to get back at it faster and it took us a long time to do that.

“It deflates but we need to be able to recover faster because if you don’t, you will continue to lose.”

After blocking a shot in the club’s loss to the Devils on Saturday, quarterback Shane Pinto didn’t skate on Sunday and there was some doubt he would wear this game.

But after taking a turn in the morning, Bento was in the line-up and Smith made a surprise list move by scratching winger Mathieu Joseph on the move.

The Senators were not pleased with the way Joseph played. He has just one goal and four points in 17 games this season and has been given ample opportunity to play a role for the club.

Smith was sending a message to Joseph and the rest of the room that there should be accountability with the list.

“It’s just a decision we made,” said Smith. “He needed a night and I think he’ll be back ready.”

The Vegas Senators will take on the Golden Knights Thursday as the road trip continues.

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