Series (Game 1 of 1)

Ottawa leads 1-0

Game 1: Friday, October 17th

Senators 3

(2-1-1, 5 pts)

Ducks 0

(0-4-0, 0 pts)

10:30 PM ET, October 17, 2003

Honda Center, Anaheim, California

1 2 3 T
OTT 1 0 23
ANA 0 0 00

P. Lalime (Senators - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: 1.000

S. Pahlsson (Ducks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Ducks: 0-4 with just two goals scored

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Anaheim Mighty Ducks have followed their best season with their worst start.

Ottawa's Patrick Lalime posted his 29th career shutout and Vaclav Varada scored 52 seconds after the opening faceoff as the Senators kept the defending Western Conference champions winless with a 3-0 victory Friday night.

The Ducks, who came within one victory of winning the Stanley Cup last season, are off to an 0-4 start for the first time in the franchise's 11-year history. They have scored only two goals, both by Rob Niedermayer, and are the only team in the league without a point in the standings.

"It is frustrating, but we can't let it get to us," said Petr Sykora, who led the Ducks last season with 34 goals. "We got a lot of breaks in the playoffs, but it's been really tough for us right now.

"Once the first one goes in, I'm sure it's going to be a relief for all of us. We have a great group of people here, so I don't have any doubts in my mind that we're going to get out of this. Once we get that first win under our belts, it's all going to turn around for us. I really believe that."

The crowd of 13,885 booed the team off the ice at the end of the game. But coach Mike Babcock was pleased with the team's effort.

"This is the first sign of life we saw out of our team this year," Babcock said. "We played at our highest competition level by far and did a lot good things.

"When you dig yourself a hole like we have, sometimes it takes you more than one game to dig out of it. We have two options. We can hang our heads and feel sorry for ourselves or we can get better again Sunday and take it out on Boston."

The Ducks had not been blanked in consecutive regular-season games since Jan. 12-14, 2001, by Buffalo and Carolina. Anaheim dropped its home opener 2-0 against Sean Burke and the Phoenix Coyotes last Sunday, and lost 4-0 in the preseason finale against Los Angeles.

"It's frustrating, but we played a little bit better tonight than we did in the last three games," Sergei Fedorov said. "As far as the work ethic, I think that was by far our best effort."

Bryan Smolinski also scored for Ottawa, which came within one win of making it to the finals last season after earning the franchise's first Presidents' Trophy with 113 points.

Lalime, who had a career-high eight shutouts among his club-record 39 victories last season, stopped 27 shots to help Jacques Martin record his 300th regular-season win as Senators coach -- the most by any active coach with his current team.

"I have a lot of respect for him," center Shawn Van Allen said. "He's a great coach and he truly cares about everyone on the team. He's patient, and he's a teacher. He's not one of those yelling and screaming guys, but if you make a mistake, he's going to get his point across to you."

The Senators, who were put through a punishing 50-minute practice Thursday by Martin after losing the night before at Los Angeles, limited Anaheim to one shot on net over the first 8{ minutes.

"I think you need a hard practice once in a while because it gets you a little more focused and ready to battle," Van Allen said. "I think it prepared us well for the game tonight. I thought our penalty kill and our overall work ethic was a lot better."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 0-3 since winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, couldn't control the rebound on a slap shot from the right point by Zdeno Chara and Varada backhanded the puck past him for his fifth goal in nine games against Anaheim.

Smolinski scored with 9:02 left in the game, beating Giguere low to the far side with a dribbler from the right circle. Marian Hossa scored into an empty net with 1:53 to play.

Game notes

Martin is the 13th coach in NHL history to record 300 regular-season wins with one team. Scotty Bowman is the only one to do it with two different franchises. ... This was the only meeting between the teams this season. ... The Ducks had only one losing streak of four or more games last season, a five-game slide from Dec. 26-Jan. 3. This is the first time since then that they have lost more than two in a row. ... Ottawa is 6-1-2 against Anaheim since the start of the 1998-99 season. ... Anaheim C Andy McDonald, who missed the final 29 games of last season and the playoffs because of a concussion, returned to the lineup for the first time since last Feb. 5.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press