Jason Spezza, back in action after missing 20 games with a torn right knee ligament, scored the winning goal as the Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Saturday to make it six victories in a row. The centre collected a pass from Alex Kovalev with less than four minutes left in the second period and ripped the tie-breaking shot past the Bruins' netminder Tim Thomas.
"I knew the whole time he was passing across to me," Spezza said, "so I was just trying to get myself in good shooting position." The Senators' streak has come after five consecutive losses during which they were without Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, who came back from a shoulder injury last week after missing 11 games. Spezza said: "The guys are playing well. We had gone through a real tough stretch and kind of got things together a little bit, so I wanted to make sure I played well."
Alfredsson, who bombarded the Bruins with a hat-trick on Monday, had given Ottawa a 1-0 lead with six seconds remaining in the first period of the Northeast Division clash. Boston levelled the score with a goal by Daniel Paille 8:26 into the second. Brian Elliott had 32 saves for Ottawa with Boston's Thomas stopping 21 shots. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Bruins, who have dropped to third in the division on 54 points with the Senators' surge taking them up to second behind the Buffalo Sabres.
The Bruins now trail Ottawa by six points. "The effort is there, but it doesn't seem like we're having any emotion right now," Paille said. "One thing we're not doing is hitting. I know from the past that this team is all about intimidation and hitting. Right now, we're not really playing that way." Both teams had second-period goals disallowed on review. Boston's Mark Recchi lost a score when officials ruled the puck had been kicked when it went off his left skate, nullifying a chance for the Bruins to go ahead 2-1.
High sticking cost Ottawa's Mike Fisher an insurance goal less than two minutes after Spezza's tiebreaker. Elsewhere, the in-form Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers 6-0, with Michael Cammalleri scoring four. Cammalleri joked that playing against New York appeared to bring out the best in him. He has scored seven goals against the Rangers this season, and said, "I love New York City, it's one of my favourite places, so maybe I get excited about scoring against the Rangers."
The Philadelphia Flyers continue to soar as a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes made it six home wins in a row, with Jeff Carter scoring two and setting up another. Bryce Salvador scored late in the game to give the New Jersey Devils a 4-2 success over the New York Islanders while the Washington Capitals made it six wins from six with a 4-2 home victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
* With agencies