Senators overpower resurgent Islanders
The Ottawa Senators came out of their Christmas break in fine form after they disposed of the resurgent New York Islanders 5-2 on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ont.
Jason Spezza scored a goal and an assist, and linemate Dany Heatley added two helpers as the Senators (29-4-3) earned their third straight victory.
Spezza extended his points streak to nine games, totalling eight goals and 19 points during that stretch.
The Ottawa centre alsorecorded the 300th point of his career on his 13th goal of the season.
"It's obviously nice to get and any time you're near a milestone, you just want to get it out of the way and grab the puck," said Spezza. "My old man's in town, so I can give it to him, and that's the end of it."
Goaltender Martin Gerber made25 saves, improving his impressive record to 19-5-1 on the season.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher also scored for Ottawa, with winger Bill Guerin answering with two goals for the Islanders.
"I thought we did a good job and controlled the play most of the night. We had the puck a lot, crashed the net and that's why we won," said Spezza.
The loss snaps New York's (18-15-2) three-game winning streak and continues a frustrating string against the Senators.
The Islanders are just 5-18-0 with five ties in Ottawa since theSenators began play in 1993, and haven't won there since March 15, 2003.
"With a couple of exceptions, we played really well in the first, and from there on I thought we controlled the game," said Gerber.
New York played without starting goaltender Rick DiPietro, whohas a sprained left knee.
DiPietrowas injured during warmups before Wednesday's 4-3 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He made seven saves and assisted on New York's second goal before leaving after the first period.
Backup Wade Dubielewicz had a good start tothe game after making 12 saves in the scoreless first period, but then allowed five goals on 25 shots.
Sens break ice
On Thursday, the Senators finally got the first goal just 1:01 into the second period on a 5-on-3 power play.
Heatley slid a pass across the Islanders' crease to Spezza, who buried a shot over Dubielewicz. It was Ottawa's first goal with a two-man advantage in 12 chances this season.
Ottawa's top line struck again more than a minute later when Heatley and Spezza set up Alfredsson's 22nd goal of the season. Spezza fed a streaking Alfredsson, and the captain made no mistake as he roofed a shot over the left shoulder of Dubielewicz.
The Senators then took a commanding 3-0 lead with only seven seconds remaining in the period after the Islanders committed a turnover in the neutral zone while they were on the power play.
"I thought we played well in the first period, then we get into penalty trouble, and they come out and get a power-play goal," said Islanders coach Ted Nolan.
"Then we give up the short-handed goal and that's tough at the end of a period like that. It's very much of a concern [giving up short-handed goals] and if we're not first in the league, we're very close. We keep doing the same thing over and over again. If the power play is scoring goals, that's one thing, but this is unacceptable."
Centre Chris Kelly hit the post on a breakaway, but Vermette gloved the puck to the ice and snapped a quick shot by Dubielewicz.
New York cut Ottawa's lead to 3-1 at 8:13 of the third after Guerin took a pass from Richard Park in the slot and fired a shot between the legs of Gerber.
Rookie Nick Foligno's put the game away more than two minutes later as he batted the puck in front of the New York net past Dubielewicz.
Fisher and Guerin then exchanged goals to round out the scoring.
With files from the Canadian Press