Jason Spezza was overdue for a goal outburst and he timed it just right to record a milestone in the midst of the Ottawa Senators’ only stop at Scotiabank Place in a span of 10 games.
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Spezza scored twice, including his 200th regular-season goal, to lead Ottawa to a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.
The 28-year-old center reached the milestone with his second goal of the game on a power play late in the first period. His first tally, a highlight-reel effort 55 seconds in, ended a personal 11-game goal drought.
”It’s been a while since I scored so they usually come in bunches for me,” Spezza said. ”It was nice to get my 200th out of the way. It’s obviously a big accomplishment and something to be proud of, so hopefully there’s more to come.”
Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar assisted on both goals.
David Rundblad got his first NHL goal, Zack Smith also scored and Craig Anderson made 34 saves for the Senators, who are on a 4-1-1 run. Ottawa, which closed out a six-game trip Friday with a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh, begins a three-game trip Tuesday in Winnipeg.
Eric Staal and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored in the third as Carolina twice closed to within one in the final period. Patrick Dwyer also scored for the Hurricanes, who are on a 0-2-1 skid.
”Other than that first minute in the first period, I thought we took it to them and overall played a pretty sound game,” said Cam Ward, who made 21 saves. ”It’s frustrating when wins aren’t coming easy and you feel like you played a good game and didn’t get rewarded for it.”
Carolina, which went 1 for 8 on the power play, has won just three of its last 13 (3-9-1).
”We played a good game,” coach Paul Maurice said. ”We didn’t get a handle on enough pucks around their net on the power play.”
Held without a goal since Oct. 29, Spezza took no time ending his drought with a sensational individual effort in the game’s opening minute. The Ottawa center drove past Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason and cut across the goalmouth to stuff the puck past Ward’s left pad and into the right side of the net for his first goal in 12 games.
Dwyer drew Carolina even with 4:57 to go in the first, beating Anderson over the left shoulder with a tight-angle shot from the right side for his third goal.
Spezza’s 200th goal, his second of the period and eighth of the season, came off a fine setup by Sergei Gonchar. Spezza took the veteran defenseman’s pass and fired into an open side before skating to the boards to pound his fist against the glass.
”I was just excited to score,” Spezza said. ”I actually didn’t even think about it at the time that it was 200 until after somebody mentioned it. I thought about it a few games ago and it’s been so long since I’ve scored that you lose track of that kind of stuff.”
Anderson made a lunging glove save to deny Jeff Skinner and protect Ottawa’s 2-1 lead midway through the second.
Rundblad got his first goal in 14 games when he beat Ward with a shot from the point with 14 seconds left in the second to make it 3-1.
Milan Michalek put a shot off the post on an Ottawa power play in the third.
Staal drew the Hurricanes within 3-2 moments later with his fifth goal at 6:46.
Smith put Ottawa up 4-2 with his fourth goal at 12:35.
Ponikarovksy cut the lead to one again with a power-play goal at 16:49.
The Senators killed a high-sticking penalty to Smith for the final 1:44.
”I was in that situation last year where I was sitting in the box and we were up one goal,” Smith said. ”I took a penalty with a minute and a half to go as well and they ended up scoring, so I was hoping it wasn’t deja vu but I had lots of faith in the guys. They, along with Andy, did a great job of killing (penalties) tonight.”
Notes: Hurricanes D Derek Joslin fought with Ottawa’s Colin Greening with 2:46 left in the first. … D Tomas Kaberle was left out of Carolina’s lineup. … RW Nikita Filatov played his seventh game for the Senators. He was recalled from Binghamtom earlier in the day and RW Stephane Da Costa was sent down to the Senators’ AHL affiliate. … Ottawa, which will host the 2012 All-Star Game, has another stretch of nine of 10 games on the road in January, including its second six-game trip of the season from Jan. 17-31.