OTTAWA – Needing a boost in the third period, the Ottawa Senators’ anaemic power play finally clicked.
Mike Fisher scored twice, including the winner with the man advantage, as the Senators got their first victory of the season Thursday, 3-2 over the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It was good to get that first win,” Fisher said. “Now hopefully it will get us rolling.”
After the Hurricanes scored twice in the third to tie things 2-2, Carolina’s Jussi Jokinen was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking with just over eight minutes left in regulation.
Ottawa created very little in the way of chances until Fisher took a feed in the high slot from Nick Foligno and ripped a slapshot past Carolina netminder Cam Ward for his second of the night.
It was the first power-play goal of the season for Ottawa (1-2-1), which has now gone a combined 1-for-18 with the man advantage.
“The timing of it was perfect,” Senators head coach Cory Clouston said of Fisher’s winner.
Milan Michalek also scored for the Senators, while Brian Elliott made 19 saves in his first appearance of the season after coming on for injured Ottawa starter Pascal Leclaire in the opening moments of the first period.
Sergei Samsonov and Eric Staal had the goals for the Hurricanes (2-1-0), who were playing in North America for the first time this season after a two-game European series with Minnesota.
Things didn’t start well for the Senators as Leclaire left the game after two minutes of action following successive collisions with Carolina’s Jeff Skinner and Tom Kostopulous.
The 27-year-old left the game with a lower body injury and was replaced by Elliott, who hadn’t played since the pre-season.
“It was a little surprising at first (coming in), but that’s why you prepare the way you do,” Elliott said. “The guys did a great job keeping things from the outside and I had to stop a couple early, but it kind of got me in the game. We pulled out a win and that’s the end result.”
Clouston said he wasn’t aware Leclaire had been injured until he heard the whistle and was unsure what exactly took place. Leclaire, who will be re-evaluated Friday, had been one of the Senators better players through the first three games.
Ottawa came out strong early and led after one period for the first time this season.
Fisher opened the scoring with just over two minutes remaining when his shot from the point deflected into the air and slipped past Ward, who finished with 36 saves.
“It’s much easier playing with the lead, even though we gave it up,” Fisher said. “But we stuck with it and our cycle game was pretty good.”
Ottawa had a number of chances in the second, but Ward was at his best until midway through the period when Michalek beat him with a backhand off the rush.
Carolina head coach Paul Maurice said the only reason Carolina had a chance was because of their netminder.
“Cam Ward is that good a player for us,” Maurice said. “He is that good that we get spoiled by it and take it for granted and that’s a real nice luxury to have.
“Tonight we just weren’t moving and just didn’t have any jump so we left it to our goaltender to bail us out of some of the strange decisions that we made and he did. That’s how you get a chance to win when you’re not good and we weren’t very good.”
The Hurricanes tied the game with two goals less than two minutes apart in the third.
Samsonov scored on the power play after Elliott overcommitted to Staal and was unable to get back in position.
Staal then picked up his first of the season after taking a cross-ice pass to knot the score 2-2.
“I thought we played a good game overall,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “We have to keep going in this fashion.”
Notes: The Senators were without D Filip Kuba (broken right leg, three weeks). C Zack Smith was a healthy scratch. … Carolina’s C Patrick O’Sullivan was a healthy scratch for the Hurricanes. Carolina was without C Jiri Tlusty (knee surgery, out indefinitely). … The Senators’ 39 shots was their most so far this season.