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GARRIOCH: Tkachuk furious after bite by L.A. Kings' Lemieux; road trip ends in loss

They made a late push, but it ended unsuccessfully as the current skid extended to five games.

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Kings 4, Senators 2

The toothless Ottawa Senators met their match Saturday night at the Staples Center.

As a result, they lost a nail biter and went 1-10-1 in November.

Trying to close out this four-game road trip with a victory, the Senators will come home with nothing to show for it after they dropped their fifth straight game, a 4-2 decision against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Senators made a hard push, but couldn’t come up when it counted as Kings goalie Cal Petersen shut the door to secure the win.

There was an ugly incident with 6:09 left in the third period. Los Angeles forward Brendan Lemieux was assessed a match penalty after he bit Senators captain Brady Tkachuk during a scrum. Tkachuk got up with a bloody hand and the officials, after reviewing video, gave the Senators a five-minute power play.

You don’t see that often and Lemieux will have a hearing with the National Hockey League’s department of player safety as a result. Tkachuk got up off the ice and complained right away, saying he’d been bitten twice.

Tkachuk was furious.

Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) plays for the puck against Los Angeles Kings defenceman Alexander Edler (2) and right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) during the third period at Staples Center.
Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) plays for the puck against Los Angeles Kings defenceman Alexander Edler (2) and right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) during the third period at Staples Center. Photo by Gary A. Vasquez /USA TODAY Sports

“This is the one time I’m going to answer this,” said Tkachuk. “It was the most gutless thing somebody could ever do. This guy, you can ask anyone of his teammates, nobody ever wants to play with him, this guy is a bad guy and a bad teammate, he focuses on himself all the time.

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“The guy’s just a joke. He shouldn’t be in the league. This guy’s gutless. No other team wants him, he’s going to keep begging to be in the NHL but no other team is going to want him, he’s an absolute joke. I can’t even wrap my head around it. People don’t even do this. He’s just a bad guy.”

Tkachuk didn’t stop there either.

“It’s outrageous. Kids don’t even do that anymore. Babies do that. I don’t even know what he was thinking, he’s just a complete brick head. He’s got nothing up there. Bad guy, bad player but what a joke he is,” said Tkachuk.

Connor Brown and Michael Del Zotto did the scoring in this one for the Senators, and goaltender Filip Gustavsson gave the club a chance, but this team is struggling big-time.

Carl Grundstrom put the game away for the Kings by scoring his second goal of the game into an empty net in the final minute.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cal Petersen (40) defends the goal as Ottawa Senators right wing Connor Brown (28) plays for the rebound during the third period at Staples Center.
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cal Petersen (40) defends the goal as Ottawa Senators right wing Connor Brown (28) plays for the rebound during the third period at Staples Center. Photo by Gary A. Vasquez /USA TODAY Sports

The Senators came into this game winless in six games against teams in the Pacific Division this season and they were trying to wrap up their four-game road trip with some kind of positive.

“I thought we tried our hearts out, we got we wanted with a five-minute major and the game on the line and we’ve got to find a way to score,” said coach D.J. Smith. “We didn’t generate enough. It’s a situation where we’ve got to get it done.

“It was a tough start with three penalties in the first period, but I thought we stayed in the fight and battled. You’re hoping your power play gets one and you’ve just got to keep working.”

Brown’s fourth of the season at 18:33 of the second period pulled the Senators to within a goal, at 3-2. He fired a shot from the faceoff circle that beat Petersen low.

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The  Kings pulled out to a 3-1 lead at 13:14 of the second period. Los Angeles made some tic-tac-toe passing in Ottawa’s zone and Arthur Kaliyev was all alone to fire it into an open net from the edge of the crease. Gustavsson couldn’t do much on that one.

Just when it looked like the Senators had settled down in the second period with a better effort, the Kings pulled out to a 2-1 lead at 10:23. That came when Grundstrom went to the net and the puck found its way into the net as Gustavson was also pushed across the goal-line.

The officials had to gather before awarding the goal, ruling the puck entered the net in a legal fashion. There was some discussion that Smith should have challenged because Gustavsson didn’t have a chance to make the stop, but Zach Sanford did make contact with Grundstrom first.

Los Angeles Kings left wing Arthur Kaliyev (34) scores a goal against Ottawa Senators goaltender Filip Gustavsson (32) during the second period at Staples Center.
Los Angeles Kings left wing Arthur Kaliyev (34) scores a goal against Ottawa Senators goaltender Filip Gustavsson (32) during the second period at Staples Center. Photo by Gary A. Vasquez /USA TODAY Sports

“If you ask (Sanford) he would admit he shoved him in,” said Smith.

After being outshot 20-10 by the Kings in the first period, the Senators somehow found themselves tied 1-1 thanks to a strong effort by Gustavsson.

Del Zotto, back after being scratched for two games, fired a shot from the point that hit Alex Iafallo’s stick, popped up in the air and flew over Peterson with only 19 seconds left in the period.

Gustavsson had to be on top of his game because the Kings had no shortage of opportunities and were firing the puck from everywhere, but Victor Arvidsson got the only goal of the period for the home team, firing a shot from the right faceoff circle past Gustavsson at 4:59.

The Senators made one roster move before Saturday’s game, claiming Adam Gaudette off waivers from Chicago. The-25-year-old suited up for eight games with the Blackhawks and had only two points. He was playing on the wing in Chicago, but that won’t be his role with Ottawa. Instead, he will be put back in his natural position at centre when he joins the club.

His best season was 2019-20 with the Vancouver Canucks, with 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points in 59 games.

Ottawa will host the Canucks on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/sungarrioch

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