Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Rookie's 1st goal gives Sens OT win over Blues

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[December 17, 2013]  OTTAWA  Overtime is proving to be a good time for Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci.

Playing in his third NHL game, the Ottawa native scored his first goal at 3:59 of the extra session to give the Senators a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday at Canadian Tire Centre.

Such heroics are becoming common for the 19-year-old, who was a first-round draft pick in 2012. Before his recall last week, Ceci had two goals in 24 games for the AHL's Binghamton Senators, both overtime winners.

"Words can't describe how happy I am right now," said Ceci, whose seeing-eye wrist shot from the point beat Blues goalie Brian Elliott. "To have that goal go in, in overtime ... to win the game against a great team with all my family and friends in the building, it's pretty crazy.

"It was a great feeling playing my first game (Thursday), and this one tops that."

Winger Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist for the Senators, who trailed 2-1 after two periods. Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored for Ottawa (14-15-6).


Winger Chris Stewart scored both goals for St. Louis (22-6-4).

"We were a little sloppy to give up that lead," said Blues winger Alex Steen, whose team is now 14-0-2 when taking a lead into the third. "We'll look at it really quickly, but we've got to let it go. We got a point. Now we've got to go home, play San Jose (on Tuesday) and get two (points) there."

Senators goalie Robin Lehner made 30 saves, while Elliott kicked out 29 shots.

The Senators had a chance to wrap things up earlier in overtime when Blues winger Derek Roy took a hooking penalty, but defenseman Alex Pietrangelo blocked shots by Senators center Jason Spezza and winger Mika Zibanejad to keep his team alive.

Stewart scored goals 2:57 apart late in the second period to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. His first was off a breakaway, as he slipped the puck between Lehner's skates at the 16:50 mark. Then, with 11.5 seconds remaining until the intermission, Stewart was left unattended at the side of the Senators' net, where he accepted a pass from Roy and squeezed a shot past Lehner.

Pageau's first-period goal came in one of the Senators' better opening segments of the season.

Most recently, Ottawa fell behind 3-0 to the Los Angeles Kings in the first period Saturday before losing 5-2.

"It's a really good win for our team, to see that we can match up to the best teams in the league," Lehner said. "We played a 60-minute game, we kept grinding. It felt really good."

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St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock liked the way his team survived the early thrust by the Senators, who led 10-7 in shots at the first intermission.

"They got their (rear ends) handed to them by Los Angeles, so they were (ticked) off, they were mad," Hitchcock said of the Senators. "They played really hard in the first period, but I thought the way we played in the second was great.

"The second period was one of best road periods we played all year. We really took it to them, really hemmed them in, at times overwhelmed them with our forecheck. Overall, the way we played in the second and third was pretty impressive."

Ryan's goal at 5:44 of the third to tie it up came off a hard pass by Senators center Kyle Turris. Ryan made a nice move on Elliott for his 16th of the season.

"Guys came in and we really didn't take a step back in our approach to the game," said Ryan, who has 15 goals and 11 assists 19 career games against the Blues. "The moral coming in was that we thought we were going to find a way.

"You look at the game, there was plenty of time where we had puck possession. There were times St. Louis got it in spurts, but we did a good job of not letting it get away from us like we have in the past."

The Blues lost center David Backes in the second period, but Hitchcock could provide no update on the extent of the injury.

NOTES: Blues W Chris Stewart extended his goal-scoring streak to three games. He also recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season, his second in three games. ... Senators C Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his second goal of the season and first since being recalled from AHL Binghamton three games ago. In 20 career NHL games, Pageau has four goals. ... Blues G Brian Elliott made 28 of 29 saves to win his only other career start against the Senators. Elliott was with the Senators from 2007-11 before being traded to Colorado for current Senators G Craig Anderson. ... Senators D Marc Methot missed his third game in a row as he recovers from the flu. Methot, who lost seven pounds in two days, is expected back when the Senators visit the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.

[ 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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