'Sigh of relief' for Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 5:06 PM ET

PITTSBURGH -- The Senators got it done with desperation last night at Mellon Arena.

That was the buzzword in the Senators' dressing room as they tried to end a five-game losing skid with a victory over Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Mission accomplished.

The Senators ensured this four-game, seven-day road swing won't be a total disaster by pulling off a 6-3 victory over the Penguins in front 17,052 last night.

Wade Redden, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Peter Schaefer had two-point nights -- both of Heatley's were goals -- while Andrej Meszaros also scored for the Senators as they ended their longest losing streak since February 1996.

It was also Ottawa's seventh straight win over the Penguins.

Coming off a major collapse in a 5-4 loss to the Thrashers in Atlanta on Wednesday night, the Senators all declared they had to play "desperate" hockey if they were going to get back on track against the young Penguins.

"We've got to play playoff hockey," said centre Mike Fisher before the game.

"We haven't found ways to win, we've only found ways to lose."

SOLID EFFORT

But the Senators found the winning solution against the Penguins. Sure, Malkin had two points, but Ottawa had one of its best efforts of the season as goalie Martin Gerber picked up the victory and, for the first time in four games, the club actually held onto a two-goal lead.

Perhaps it was Schaefer and Redden breaking out of their season-long scoring slumps that made the difference.

Schaefer put this one away with his first of the season at 3:55 of the third to give Ottawa a three-goal lead.

"It was nice for some guys to get their monkey off their back," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "We've been playing pretty well and we needed to get rewarded for that.

"Maybe this will get some guys feeling good about themselves."

But nothing is ever easy with this team, it seems.

Maxime Talbot scored the league-leading sixth shorthanded goal against the Senators in the third to cut Ottawa's lead to 5-3.

Redden scored his first goal of the season at 16:12 of the second to give the Senators a 4-2 lead going into the third.

Ending a scoring drought that dated back 23 games to March 12 against Washington, Redden fired a shot from the slot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury stick side.

Redden's goal came on the power play, which has now contributed in two straight games. Heatley completed the scoring with his second of the third and, since being reunited with Spezza and captain Daniel Alfredsson, they've combined for five goals and 11 points in two games.

To call the first two periods dominating for the Senators would be an understatement, as they outshot Pittsburgh 34-12. They controlled every aspect of the game and didn't give the Penguins much in the way of scoring chances.

Following a goal by Malkin that tied it 2-2 at 6:11 of the second, Meszaros restored the lead for Ottawa by firing a blast by Fleury at 11:48.

After hard work by Schaefer to keep the puck in on a delayed penalty, Spezza earlier scored on what looked to be a shot from an impossible angle from the bottom of the circle to beat Fleury, giving the Senators a 2-1 lead at 9:50.

For the fourth straight game, the Senators opened the scoring. This time it was Heatley on the rebound of a Redden backhander from the corner at 3:42.

The Penguins tied it up on the power play. Malkin made a nice play to keep it in and Michel Ouellet one-timed a pass from Ryan Whitney by Gerber on the glove side.

Ottawa finished with a 44-17 edge in shots.

Now it's on to Boston for the Senators, who clearly lifted their spirits going into tonight's game against the Bruins.

"We got contributions from everybody and that's a big win for us," said Spezza. "We needed that. I thought we played well. We wanted to come out that way. It comes as a sigh of relief. We got some breaks (last night)."


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