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Spezza's hat trick propels Senators past Penguins

OTTAWA (Ticker) -- Jason Spezza recorded his second career hat

trick as the Ottawa Senators cooled off the Pittsburgh Penguins

with a 3-2 victory on Saturday.

Alex Auld stopped 17 shots and Dany Heatley notched a pair of

assists for the Senators, who won for just the fourth time in

their last 10 games (4-4-2).

"It was nice to see Spezza have a good game like that," Ottawa

captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "I think overall today, we did

a good job with the puck. We didn't turn it over much and we

forced them to play in their own end quite a bit. The only time

they had some possession was on the power play, and our

penalty-killers did a good job. And (Auld) played well, too."

Spezza hopes the win over the reigning Eastern Conference

champion Penguins can be a springboard for the rest of the

season.

"They're one of the best teams in the East, and they're a team

that we know if you want to win, you're probably going to have

to go through, so we just have to make up points in the

standings," Spezza said. "We've kind of put ourselves in a bit

of a spot, and now we're slowly getting ourselves out of it."

Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal each registered a goal and an

assist for the Penguins, who had won 10 of their previous 14

(10-2-2).

Spezza scored his ninth goal of the season on a wraparound at

4:01 of the second, then gave Ottawa a 2-0 lead by blasting a

loose puck in the slot past goaltender Dany Sabourin nearly five

minutes later.

"We knew we had to have a good game, and for me, it's nice to

get a few goals and contribute to the win," Spezza said. "All

in all, I thought we played a great team game and did a really

good job."

Pittsburgh pulled within 2-1 as Staal tipped in a pass from

captain Sidney Crosby with 3:43 left in the period.

Spezza restored the two-goal bulge with 39 seconds remaining in

the period on a fluke play. His pass from behind the net hit

Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang's skate, deflected upward and

bounced off Sabourin's arm and in.

"(Spezza) passed it and (Letang) was going to put some pressure

on him and it hit his skate and bounced off of me," Sabourin

said. "It's a tough play because I have to get going for the

pass, but it was a good bounce for them.

"Sometimes when you're hot, you find the spots or you get some

good bounces, and when you're a good player like him, you tend

to get more sometimes."

Spezza's final tally proved to be a crucial, as Malkin scored

while shorthanded at 9:12 of the third. The Penguins pulled

Sabourin with 40 seconds left but could not get the equalizer.

"Being .500 is not where we want to be," Senators coach Craig

Hartsburg said. "We've climbed back and now we want to move

forward. It was a big win for our team."

Sabourin stopped 28 shots for Pittsburgh, which managed just

five shots in the third period.

"I thought we played really well defensively, especially when

you look at who we were playing against," Auld said. "An effort

like that helps build the confidence, and we're feeling pretty

good about our game right now."

"We didn't start well and Spezza had a big second period and

gave them the lead," Crosby said. "It's a matter of momentum a

lot of times, and we just weren't able to get any."

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