But the Senators require more than a few breaks to stay in the NHL
playoff race -- they need a miracle.
Powered by Chiasson's eighth goal of the season midway through the
third period, the Ottawa staved off elimination with a 2-1 triumph
over the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.
Digging the puck out of the corner, left winger Ryan Dzingel quickly
sent it to the front of the net. The disc glanced off Jets center
Mark Scheifele's skate and caromed to Chiasson, who beat goalie
Michael Hutchinson at the 8:51 mark.
"It was a lucky bounce there," said Chiasson, who helped his team
secure their sixth straight win at the MTS Centre. "A good forecheck
by Dzingel... it kind of bounced onto my stick and it was nice to
Scheifele had evened the score 1-1 with his 26th goal of the season
just two minutes earlier, snapping a shot past goalie Andrew Hammond
after right winger Blake Wheeler found him streaking to the net.
The Senators (35-33-9) pulled to within eight points of the idle
Detroit Red Wings in the race for the final wild-card spot in the
Eastern Conference, but have just five games left in the regular
After going winless in their last three games, a tidy road triumph
was a relief, said Chiasson.
"At this point in the season, you have to play your system. Guys are
battling some injuries and the energy level is maybe not as high as
it is in November or December. So, you've got to play the system,"
he said. "It's nice to see everyone rolling well. I can't say there
was a line that wasn't playing up to the standards. It was a good
effort for that."
Winnipeg (31-39-7) is winless in its last three games and remains
last in the Central Division.
Ottawa center Zach Smith notched his career-high 22nd goal of the
season early in the first period to open the scoring. He took a pass
from right winger Mark Stone on a two-on-break and tucked the puck
behind Winnipeg goalie Hutchinson at 3:16 on the first shot of the
game for the visitors.
It was Smith's first goal in seven games, after scoring in five
straight contests before the dry spell.
The largest cheer from the home crowd came with eight minutes left
in the second period when defenseman Dustin Byfuglien flattened
Stone with, perhaps, the most punishing body check of the Jets
Stone, 23, was caught with his head down just outside the Jets blue
line on what looked like a clean but crushing hit. He rose quickly
but was immediately shepherded off the ice by a member of Senators
training staff. He returned to the bench just four minutes later and
finished the period, but didn't come out for the final frame.
Smith jumped on Byfuglien after the collision and put the hulking
defenseman in a bear hug, earning him the lone penalty on the play.
But he'd have no hesitation doing it again, he said.
"(Stone) is one of our best players, if not our best player. And
regardless of who it is, we're going to jump in," said Smith. "I
didn't see the hit exactly as it happened, but a big collision like
that you're going to get in there pretty quick. When a guy's in a
vulnerable position like that and a big guy like Byfuglien makes
that hit, you're going to jump in."
[to top of second column]
Hammond wasn't swamped with work but had to be alert on a couple of
chances by the Jets, including a brilliant glove save off Drew
Stafford with eight minutes left in the third period and a kick save
off center Andrew Copp with about five minutes left to play.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson blocked a shot by Stafford that had looked
destined to go in with under a minute left and the Jets net empty to
solidify the two points.
"The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind is the shot blocks
throughout the game at key times. Whether it was on the penalty kill
or at the end of the game there when they had the goalie out, that
was a huge part," Hammond said.
Hammond finished with 20 saves, while Hutchinson stopped 17 drives.
Winnipeg's power play unit was shut out in three opportunities,
while the Senators finished 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Scheifele said the Jets failed to generate much in the way of
offense early on.
"It wasn't going very well at the start of the game. It wasn't what
we wanted," he said. "We weren't creating a whole lot, and then we
started to get on the forecheck. And once we started to get our feet
moving and getting behind their (defense), we started to create a
NOTES: The Jets scratched RW JC Lipon (upper body), C Mathieu
Perreault (upper body), C Bryan Little (upper body), RW Anthony
Peluso (upper body) and C Chase De Leo (healthy scratch). Ottawa
didn't dress D Mark Borowiecki (lower body), D Patrick Wiercioch
(upper body) and C Scott Gomez (healthy scratch). ... Senators D
Cody Ceci played his 200th career game Wednesday. ... The Jets
signed undrafted forward Brandon Tanev, 24, to a two-way contract
for the remainder of the season. The Toronto native just recently
finished his collegiate career with Providence College. Winnipeg
head coach Paul Maurice hinted he'd like to see Tanev, the younger
brother of Vancouver D Chris Tanev, play in at least one of the
Jets' final five games. ... Ottawa G Craig Anderson is expected to
play Thursday in Minnesota against the Wild as the team finishes off
back-to-back road games for the last time this season. ... The Jets
host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night and then play their
final home game Sunday night against the Minnesota Wild. ... Ottawa
travels to Minneapolis to take on the Wild on Thursday night and
then finish up a three-game road trip Saturday against the
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.