OTTAWA – The New York Islanders used a tough physical game to steal a win against Ottawa.
Marc Andre Bergeron scored a pair of power-play goals to propel the Islanders to a 3-1 win over the Senators at Scotiabank Place on Sunday night.
“If they would have played their normal (offensive) style of game they probably would have beat us,” said Bergeron. “It didn’t work out too well for them.”
The Islanders’ physical style may have cost the Sens star forward Jason Spezza. He was knocked out in the first period by an open-ice hit from Islanders defenceman Freddy Meyer.
Spezza was turned to take a pass up the middle from defenceman Wade Redden when he was met unsuspectingly by Meyer and sent hard to the ice. Senators coach John Paddock said Spezza was taken out after that because he wasn’t “feeling right.”
“It was clean hit,” Paddock said. “Jason wasn’t expecting the puck. It was a terrible pass.”
Mike Comrie added a third goal for the Islanders (22-17-5) who concluded a five-game road trip that had them go through Colorado and Western Canada before heading to Ottawa
Daniel Alfredsson had the lone goal for the Senators despite 32 shots on New York goalie Rick DiPietro.
Martin Gerber got the start for the Senators (29-11-4) and made 28 saves.
Bergeron broke a 1-1 deadlock with a point shot that found the net behind Gerber at 4:36 of the third period. Less than two minutes later, Comrie went coast-to-coast and gained the outside along the boards against Redden before beating Gerber.
The loss of Spezza hurt an offence that was already without the services of Dany Heatley. He suffered a separated shoulder on Saturday night after going hard into the end boards with Detroit Red Wings forward Dallas Drake.
It was the first game Heatley has missed since joining the Senators for the start of the 2005-06 season. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.
The fact that Spezza did take a couple more shifts before leaving the game was a cause for optimism. The way Heatley was able to move his shoulder following the collision Saturday had the Senators feeling optimistic as well, but then the bad news came down Sunday morning that he would be lost for an extended period.
“Those guys are a big part of our team and now we have to be smarter defensively knowing that those guys are out of the lineup,” said defenceman Chris Phillips.
“We’re going to have to win the low-scoring, close games and it will be a good test for us as we go forward here in the next little while.”
The teams were tied 1-1 after the second period, having exchanged power-play goals through the first 40 minutes.
Bergeron gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead with just 22 seconds remaining in the first period after poking in a loose puck through a pile up in front of the Senators goal.
Alfredsson tied the game at 16:07 of the second period by tipping a Redden point shot past DiPietro. It was his third goal in the last two games with all three coming on the power play.
Special teams were a factor last night as the Islanders were awarded nine power-play opportunities and they capitalized on two. The Senators went 1-3 with the man advantage.
“We all know the importance of power plays and moving the puck,” Islanders coach Ted Nolan said.
“We got some screens in front and Bergeron had a couple of good shots.”
The Senators were coming off a high of having beat the Red Wings 3-2, but insisted there was no let down from is team against the Islanders.
“We played a pretty good second period but the penalties were the difference. If we stayed even, five-on-five, we might have had a chance to win it but that wasn’t the case,” Alfredsson said.
“We got some tough calls against us I thought and they won it on the power play. It was a pretty physical game but they got a lot more power plays than us. It was a little frustrating and we were arguing pretty much every call. Sometimes you just have to adjust.”
Notes: The Senators are the only NHL team to have three players with 50 or more points this season. They are Alfredsson, Heatley and Spezza. . . . Chris Kelly and Andrej Meszaros are the only Senators to play every game since the league returned from the lockout in 2005-06. . . . Alfredsson is currently on a 10-game point streak. . . . DiPietro has recorded 31 or more saves in each of his last six games.