Tuesday, April 01, 2014
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Senators Pull Out Shootout Win Over Hurricanes

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[April 01, 2014]  OTTAWA  More than one of the handmade signs in the crowd at Canadian Tire Centre Monday night expressed the defiant message "We're not done yet."

The Ottawa Senators delivered the same statement with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, moving them to four points back of the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games left on the schedule.

Winger Ales Hemsky scored the lone goal in the shootout as goalie Craig Anderson stood to the test, leading the Senators to their third consecutive victory.

"We're just out there having a good time and having fun," said Anderson, who stopped 30 Carolina shots through three periods and the overtime. "We're coming to the rink enjoying ourselves and doing whatever is necessary to make sure we're playing the right way.

"For us, we just have to stick with one game at a time. We can't put the cart before the horse."

The loss left the Hurricanes seven points back of the wild-card spot as they too have seven games remaining.

Senators center Mika Zibanejad and Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner exchanged early first-period goals, but the teams tightened up after that.

Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward made 27 saves through 65 minutes, but said afterward he felt a little "choppy" between the pipes.

"They've got some skilled players, and they were making some east-to-west plays right in front of the net, which made it difficult to read," said Ward. "The puck was bouncing a little more than I would have liked, but other than that we gave our team a chance to win. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel good to lose in a shootout."

Promoted to a top line between wingers Clarke MacArthur and Hemsky, Zibanejad gave the Senators a 1-0 lead with his 14th goal of the season at the 1:41 mark of the opening period. Moments after a neat move by Hemsky to get around Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk, Senators defenseman Patrick Wiercioch drilled a shot from the point that went in off Zibanejad, who was cruising in front.

"You've got to look at it as a lucky break on their side, and just get ready for the next shot," said Ward.

Just 2:22 after the Zibanejad goal, Skinner parked behind the Senators net with the puck, looking for a teammate to pass to in front. When none could get free, Skinner banked a shot off Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson that got by Anderson on the short side.

The Senators, who have been among the league leaders in shots allowed all season, played a better defensive game minus injured a couple of injured offensive stars, center Jason Spezza and winger Bobby Ryan.

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"They were pretty tenacious on the forecheck, creating turnovers and such, especially coming out of our own end," said Hurricanes center Jordan Staal. "We had a tough time moving it out of our own end."

The three-game winning streak is only the second of its length for the Senators this season, and the first since Jan. 2. They wrap up a five-game homestand when they host the New York Islanders Wednesday and the Montreal Canadiens Friday.

"We moved the puck faster and if we move the puck like that we can do some damage," said Hemsky. "We're just playing with more confidence. The goalies have been keeping us in the game now in the last three to four games."

The Hurricanes left after the game for a meeting with the Penguins in Pittsburgh Tuesday night.

"We've just got to keep going one game at a time, keep trying to get two points," said Staal. "We were one short tonight. The effort was there but again, we found a way to just get the one."

NOTES: Senators C Kyle Turris was named the NHL's first star of the week Monday. His exploits included a league-high seven points, and a plus-7 rating, while leading Ottawa on a 3-0-1 run. ... The Hurricanes have earned at least one point in 14 of their last 17 games against the Senators. Eight of the previous 10 meetings between the teams had been decided by one goal. ... Senators C Jason Spezza and D Jared Cowen were both unable to play in the second of back-to-back games because of "lower-body" injuries. Taking their spots in the lineup were C Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who was recalled from Binghamton Monday morning, and D Cody Ceci. ... Hurricanes W Jeff Skinner extended his consecutive-games point-scoring streak to five with his 30th goal in the second period. Skinner is now one shy of his career best in goals, which he established as a rookie in 2010-11.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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