Ceci's third-period goal lifts Senators over Hurricanes 4-2

Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil gets high-fives from his teammates after an assist on a goal by Senators' Zack Smith, not shown, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) One year ago Thursday, Ottawa began a 23-4-4 run that led to a postseason berth.

Right now, the Senators are happy to have any kind of winning streak at all.

Cody Ceci scored the winning goal early in the third period and the Senators beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Thursday night for their first consecutive wins since Jan. 16-18.

Ottawa is sitting outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, so a late-season push will be necessary to get back to the postseason. Senators coach David Cameron is hopeful after his team put on a good show against an aggressive opponent.

''We knew it was going to be a challenge because this team pressures you and that's an area we've had difficulty with – teams that pressure us,'' Cameron said. ''We don't stick with it, we tend to get impatient and stubborn and try to create something when it's not there and it's been the thing we've been trying to correct. We stuck with it.''

Alex Chiasson, Zack Smith and Mark Stone also scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 30 shots.

Jordan Staal and Riley Nash scored for the Hurricanes, and Eddie Lack made 18 saves. Carolina didn't get a point for the first time in six games.

''I thought we kept at it, but they did a good job of sticking with it, too, obviously, and they came up with the extra one in the end and we couldn't find that third one,'' Jordan Staal said.

Ceci put Ottawa ahead 3:50 into the third. His shot was deflected, and the puck floated behind Lack for a 3-2 edge. It was his second goal in three games.

Not long after, the Hurricanes were set back by a penalty for too many men on the ice, and then Stone added an empty-netter at 19:59.

''We took a penalty in the third that's avoidable, too many men on the ice and that just shortens the trap, right?,'' Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. ''You still want 2 more minutes to play 5-on-5 to see if you can get the game tied up. We made enough mistakes to make it harder than it needed to be.''

Smith gave the Senators a 2-1 lead 5:39 into the second period. He beat Lack with an ugly goal that slipped under the netminder's left arm.

Nash tied it with 1:43 left in the second, beating Anderson with a wrist shot on a power play.

The Senators opened the scoring, which is something of a rarity this season. Curtis Lazar made a great pass to Chiasson, who beat Lack from the slot 7:36 in. Ottawa is now 17-3 when scoring first.

''It's always nice to play with a lead,'' Anderson said. ''There's less pressure, you're not gripping the stick as much, you're not playing high risk and taking unnecessary chances that you are when you're down by a goal.''

The Senators played a solid first period but were unable to hold off the Hurricanes, who scored with 23 seconds remaining when Jordan Staal beat Anderson through the legs.

NOTES: C Shane Prince was a healthy scratch for the Senators. D Mark Borowiecki missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. … Carolina's C Nathan Gerbe and C Brad Malone were healthy scratches. D Justin Faulk is out with a leg injury.