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Spezza's goal in shootout lifts Ottawa Senators over Carolina Hurricanes

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

RALEIGH, N.C. - Jason Spezza hadn't experienced a road win over Carolina in nearly four years.

So when he slid the puck between the pads of Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward in the second round of the shootout Tuesday night, it gave him a pretty good feeling of relief.

Spezza had his fifth goal—and 12th point—of the season in regulation while Zenon Konopka scored and Sergei Gonchar had two assists, leading the Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 victory.

The result stopped Ottawa's seven-game losing streak at the RBC Center, going back to a 6-0 win on Dec. 12, 2007.

"I think we deserved to win tonight," Spezza said. "We played hard, we frustrated them, and right until the end they didn't have much. We're playing more comfortable and clogging things up. It's just unfortunate we didn't win in regulation. But we got the shootout win and we'll leave here happy. They always come hard here."

Ottawa, which won its third straight game, led 2-0 with five minutes to play before late goals from Tuomo Ruutu and Jeff Skinner forced overtime.

Craig Anderson had 32 saves for Ottawa, while Ward had 26 for Carolina.

"I thought we had a really solid team effort," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "I think (Anderson) gave us confidence, but we played well on our end. I thought the defence worked hard, and the power play was big and efficient, which it needs to be. The penalty killers did a good job until the one at the end."

The Hurricanes outshot the Senators 15-5 and had two power-play opportunities in a scoreless first period before the visitors took the momentum until the final five minutes.

Ottawa took the lead at 6:30 of the second period, as Konopka beat Ward from the left circle on a rush with assists to Gonchar and Jesse Winchester. It was Konopka's first goal and Winchester's first point of the season.

Spezza doubled the lead—on Ottawa's only power play of the game—at 18:36 of the second on a tip-in with Colin Greening and Gonchar getting assists.

"We were really struggling to generate anything out of the first two periods," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "We dumped pucks that we didn't need to dump and leaned on forechecks and we were very comfortable playing that game. We had a very difficult time moving the puck."

Ruutu got Carolina on the board at 15:08 of the third, when he intercepted Gonchar's clearing attempt in the low slot and slipped the puck past Anderson for his third goal of the season. Jay Harrison had the sole assist.

The Hurricanes tied it on the power play at 17:29, as Skinner deflected Jamie McBain's shot from the high slot past Anderson with Eric Staal on the second assist.

"It was a little bit of desperation there in the last five minutes," said Skinner, who won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year last season and has four goals and 10 points. "We need to create that a little bit earlier and play with more emotion. You always want to come out better than we did, but we battled back and showed some character."

Notes: Ottawa RW and captain Daniel Alfredsson was scratched with an injured right hip flexor and is day to day. ... Carolina RW Anthony Stewart was out with a lower body injury. ... Carolina LW Zach Boychuk was recalled for the first time this season from Charlotte (AHL), while C Zac Dalpe was placed on injured reserve (lower body) retroactive to Oct. 14. ... Carolina, in black jerseys for the second time this season, began a stretch in which seven of 10 games are at home.



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