Cody Ceci had a special homecoming on Monday night.
Ceci, who grew up in the east end of Ottawa about 30 minutes from the area and played junior hockey with the Ottawa 67’s, scored his first NHL goal in overtime and the Ottawa Senators beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2.
Ceci recovered a clearing attempt by the Blues and sent a wrist shot toward the St. Louis goal that beat Brian Elliott at 3:59 of the extra period.
"I had probably a better opportunity right before that with a slap shot with a pretty open look, but it didn’t go as high up as I wanted it to," Ceci said of a shot seconds before his goal.
"Next thing I know I get the puck at the blue line and there’s a lot of traffic crossing in front of the goalie. I just kind of floated it through and it found the net. I’ll definitely remember this.
"It’s a special moment, it couldn’t have happened at a better time and I’m really happy things worked out the way they did."
Ceci has two goals this season with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL and both of those have also been overtime winners.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bobby Ryan scored in regulation for the Senators, who picked up points for the fifth time in their past six games. They only time they have been held pointless during that time was a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Chris Stewart had both goals for the Blues and both came late in the second period and both were set up by Derek Roy.
Roy also took a hooking penalty in overtime, but the Senators were unable to take advantage.
Ryan scored a highlight-reel goal on a pass from Kyle Turris, who put the puck on Ryan’s tape from 40 feet away, right in front of the St. Louis goal.
Ryan cut in front, went to his backhand and beat Elliott to tie the game 2-2. It was also the only goal of the third period and sent the game to overtime.
"We feel much better with the way we played. We played a very good opponent in back-to-back games. The game against L.A. didn’t turn out near as good as this one did, but I thought we responded," Senators coach Paul MacLean said.
"Our completion level and our commitment to playing without the puck and playing the game hard was much better and at a much higher level.
"The good news for us is that we did it and now we have to come back and get prepared to do it again and that starts tomorrow at practice."
Goaltending played a key role throughout the game as Elliott dueled with Ottawa’s Robin Lehner. Each made some big saves, especially through the first two periods.
"It’s not the way you want to lose a game. We all kind of made mistakes, but I thought we battled hard to get back. It’s a tough way to lose," Elliott said. "We got a point but we’ve got to answer right back against San Jose at home tomorrow."
Pageau beat Elliott early in the game as he found the back of the net over the Blues goalie’s glove. Ryan set up the play from behind the net, finding Pageau in the slot.
That goal at 3:57 of the first stood up as the only goal until just 3:10 remained in the second when Stewart scored his first of two goals.
Roy made a long breakout pass to Stewart, who slid a backhand along the ice and through the legs of Lehner at the end of a breakaway.
With just 13 seconds remaining in the second, Brendan Morrow’s miscue led to Stewart’s go-ahead goal.
While behind the net, Morrow fanned on a pass attempt out front but the puck went directly to Roy at the side of the goal. Roy’s no-look backhand pass was met with no hesitation as Stewart delivered a one-timer to the far side past Lehner for a 2-1 St. Louis lead.
"They played really hard in the first period but I thought the way we played in the second was one of the best road periods we played all year," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We really took it to them and at times overwhelmed them with our forecheck, so I was really happy with the point."
Notes:Coming into Monday’s game the Senators were 1-9-2 against the Western Conference while the Blues were 11-2-0 against the Eastern Conference. … Scratches for the Senators were defensemen Marc Methot and Eric Gryba along with forward Matt Kassian. The Blues sat forwards Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka plus defenseman Ian Cole. … Senators coach Paul MacLean was drafted by the Blues in 1978. He was traded to Winnipeg before returning to St. Louis to play his final two seasons. MacLean played 115 games for the Blues and had 40 goals and 44 assists.