Senators 5, Oilers 3

The Ottawa Senators won just in time to stay out of the NHL


Alex Kovalev had two goals and an assist for the Senators, who

snapped an 11-game losing streak and avoided the cellar by beating

the last-place Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Saturday.

Milan Michalek, Bobby Butler and Peter Regin also scored for the

Senators (18-30-8), who broke an 0-9-2 skid and moved four points

ahead of Edmonton. Brian Elliott needed to stop only 15 shots to

earn the win.

”It feels great to end that streak,” Senators assistant

captain Chris Phillips said. ”It’s been a while since we won. It’s

been tough.

”It was never one little thing that was happening all of the

time. It was different mistakes. You couldn’t just point your

finger at it and fix it. When a streak gets going like that you

can’t get any luck. But the guys worked hard through it and it

finally paid off for us.”

Ottawa’s last victory was Jan. 13, a 6-4 road win over the New

York Islanders, who lead the Senators by only one point in the

Eastern Conference standings.

”I think we’ll have a bit of a better feeling going to the rink

now,” Elliott said. ”Hopefully, a little more confidence and

cockiness. When you are not succeeding, it wears on you. Now we

have to make sure it isn’t just one win and that we go on a losing

streak again.”

Dustin Penner had a pair of goals, and Andrew Cogliano netted

the other for the Oilers (16-31-8), who have dropped two in a row

and have won only two of 13 games. Nikolai Khabibulin made 20

saves, but his personal losing streak was extended to 14 games.

”When they scored their second goal, it took a lot out of

energy out of us,” Oilers associate coach Ralph Krueger said. ”It

seemed whatever happened after that, the rest of the way we seemed

to have the hill ahead of us. The penalties were symbolic of that

undisciplined feeling.

”To play seven times short-handed for the second game in a row,

we can’t win hockey games doing that kind of thing.”

Ottawa took a 1-0 lead on its first shot less than three minutes

in. Butler took the puck away from Tom Gilbert and went around

defenseman Theo Peckham to score his first NHL goal.

But Edmonton tied it less than a minute later as Jordan Eberle

fed the puck to Cogliano in front and he slipped it underneath


The Senators scored on their second shot, as well. A long shot

by Kovalev flipped up into the air and appeared to be knocked into

the net by Khabibulin.

The Oilers tied it 2-2 early in the second period when Penner

unleashed a quick wrist shot that went in off the post and seemed

to handcuff Elliott.

Play became rough in the latter stages of the second period with

even Khabibulin and Senators tough guy Chris Neil shoving each

other before Peckham stepped in for the Oilers.

Khabibulin was called for a pair of minor penalties on the play

but the Oilers killed both to keep the game tied through two


Ottawa regained the lead eight minutes into the third on its

seventh power play. The puck bounced around in front of the Oilers

net before Michalek put a shot into the corner to make it 3-2.

Edmonton was awarded a two-man power-play advantage shortly

after but failed to capitalize.

The Senators gave themselves a cushion with six minutes left

when Kovalev made a nice feed on a 2-on-1 break to Regin, who

lifted the puck past Khabibulin.

The Oilers cut the deficit to a goal when Penner scored his

second of the game and 20th of the season with 2:21 left.

Kovalev scored his second of the game into an empty net to seal

the rare Senators win.

Notes: It was the second and final meeting between the clubs

this season. Edmonton won 4-1 in Ottawa on Nov. 29. … All six NHL

teams in Canada were scheduled to play each other Saturday on

Hockey Day in Canada. … Senators forward Jason Spezza played in

his 500th NHL game. … Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff missed the

game because of bronchitis. … Oilers coach Tom Renney missed his

second straight game to spend time with family following the death

of his father.