DALLAS -- They're back.
The Senators returned home from the Lone Star State last night with a bounce in their step and armed with 5-of-6 points by closing out their three-game road trip with a 4-2 victory over the Stars at the American Airlines Arena.
The Senators' performance wasn't perfect, but they got the job done with goals from Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Antoine Vermette and Christoph Schubert as the club picked up its second straight victory after snapping a seven-game losing streak.
"It was a real strong, in the trenches, effort. We had to keep it simple. That was probably our hardest 1-on-1 battling game (this season)," said Senators coach John Paddock. "We had good efforts from a lot of our players and that's what you need."
FISHER SEALS DEAL
While there wasn't much in the way of scoring chances, it was Fisher's power-play goal at 7:29 of the third that wound up being the winner. It's the first time in nine games Ottawa has held the opponent to less than three goals.
Mike Ribiero scored with 1:49 left in the third period to pull the Stars within a goal at 3-2, but Kelly put it away with an empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining.
Ottawa goalie Ray Emery, making his third straight start, wasn't tested a whole lot, but made enough stops for the win.
The Senators have been taking a lot of heat for their poor defensive play of late, but they did a pretty good job keeping the Stars' chances to a minimum.
Paddock told the players they could make the road trip a big success with a strong effort against the Stars.
"You'll take (5-of-6 points on the road) any time," Paddock said before the game.
The Senators got just what they expected from the Stars -- a close-checking and low-scoring game.
The Senators bought into the style, holding Dallas to a single shot in the second period.
There was a scary moment late in the second when Dallas winger Niklas Hagman nailed Schubert into the boards. While Schubert had to be helped off ice, he didn't miss a shift. Hagman was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.
The Senators made the most of their opportunities in the first period. They had only two shots through the first 14 minutes, but Schubert opened the scoring on the club's first shot on Dallas goalie Mike Smith.
Schubert threw a puck at the net from the point that sailed through traffic and beat Smith on the glove side. Vermette's goal came on a great individual effort as he split Dallas defencemen Matt Niskanen and Stephane Robidas to beat Smith through the legs at 16:29.
Paddock had indicated he wanted more from the likes of Vermette after the club's 5-4 victory over the Panthers Wednesday. Vermette must have taken it to heart. He used his speed and had a breakaway that was stopped by Smith.
Dallas winger Steve Ott, meanwhile, had the Senators steaming mad. After Ott had run Emery and hit Dany Heatley, Chris Neil challenged Ott to a fight the faceoff circle, dropping his gloves, but Ott turtled and the rugged Ottawa winger wound up with a double-roughing minor.
The Senators are home until Tuesday before hitting the road for another two-game trip. They'll face Carolina on Wednesday and Pittsburgh on Thursday.