OTTAWA – Jason Spezza may have scored the deciding goal in the shootout, but Pascal Leclaire won the game for the Ottawa Senators.
Leclaire made 31 saves and the Senators twice came from behind for a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. With the game tied 2-2 midway through the third period, Leclaire stopped Andrew Cogliano on a breakaway and then thwarted Denis Grebeshkov moments later with a toe save in close to keep the game tied.
“I just tried to follow them as much as I could,” Leclaire said. “These guys are pretty skilled and have a lot of offensive ability. You have to be patient with them.”
Chris Neil scored his third goal of the season with just under seven minutes left in the third period to give the Senators a 3-2 lead, but Gilbert Brule tied the game less than two minutes later with a hard shot from the slot that just trickled past Leclaire.
“We made it exciting and we were pretty disciplined. There was the little breakdown by myself at the end but the guys came back and we were able to get the win, so it’s a little easier to forget about,” Leclaire said.
Jonathan Cheechoo and Nick Foligno also scored for the Senators (8-5-2). Cheechoo’s goal was his first since coming to Ottawa with Milan Michalek in an October trade that sent Dany Heatley to the San Jose Sharks.
Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau had first-period goals for the Oilers (8-8-6), while Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 22 saves.
Down 2-1 after 20 minutes, the Senators scored the only goal of the second period. Foligno took a behind-the-back pass from Ryan Shannon and put a backhand shot past Drouin-Deslauriers to tie the game.
The Oilers sandwiched first-period goals around Cheechoo’s one-timer on a pass from Alex Kovalev that was in and out of the net before Deslauriers had a chance to react.
The first Oiler goal was originally credited to Steve Staios, which would have been the first of the season for the defenceman. The goal was eventually changed to Penner after replays showed the puck hitting Penner’s behind before Leclaire knocked it into his own net with the shaft of his stick.
Less than three minutes after Cheechoo scored, Moreau gave the Oilers their second lead of the night as he took advantage of some miscommunication in the corner between Peter Regin and Alex Picard, stealing the puck and stuffing it past Leclaire.
After a five straight road losses, the Oilers picked up a win in Colorado on Sunday night. Coach Pat Quinn was upset with Tuesday’s loss, but happy that his team put together a good performance.
“It was probably our best three periods in a long time, and we maybe (could have) had a better result but we didn’t and the shootout we couldn’t score,” Quinn said.
“I don’t like the goals that went in on us again, and I have a problem with how the (Neil) one went in for sure. It was interference on our goaltender and offside as well. I guess you’ve got to live with that but it makes it hard. But overall, thinking in terms of improvement, we were a little better in Colorado than we have been and this was a better effort and hopefully that will continue.”
Notes: Ryan O’Marra made his NHL debut with the Oilers Tuesday night. He was selected 15th overall in 2005 by the New York Islanders and was traded to the Oilers as part of the Ryan Smyth deal. … Senators captain Daniel Aldredsson had his nine-game point streak halted Tuesday. It was only the second time this season he’s been held off the scoresheet. … Defenceman Anton Volchenkov missed his fifth straight game with an elbow injury.