Senators' black magic

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

The Senators are back -- in the black.

Sporting their new-look black jersey unveiled on Hockey Night in Canada, the Senators took a big step on the road to recovery with a 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers yesterday in front of 19,619 at Scotiabank Place, halting their skid at six.

The Senators also wore wide smiles as they celebrated their first win since Nov. 6, buoyed by the fact Jason Spezza, Jesse Winchester, Daniel Alfredsson and Nick Foligno scored.

"It was a complete, 60-minute effort. We had some good games and didn't get any results out of it," said Spezza, who opened the scoring at 5:43 of the first after just one goal and two assists in his previous 10 games.

"We scored early. It was really important to get the first goal and it puts the other team back on its heels.

"We wanted to make sure that we kept the pedal down and turned it up a notch or two. We've been frustrated by goalies in the past and we knew we just had to keep coming and keep coming. Eventually, things were going to turn. We've played better the last little bit. We knew we just had to keep working for the results."

The Senators set the tone with a couple of power plays, but they didn't let a strong performance by Rangers goalie Steve Valiquette frustrate them. They kept pushing and made sure New York didn't get a whole lot of chances on Alex Auld.

"We've seen, in the last little bit, the team's goaltender seems to be the first star a lot. We stayed with it and we talked about it before the game. We made sure that (yesterday) was not the night where the other team's goalie was going to be a star," said coach Craig Hartsburg.

"We wanted to stay hungry around the net and make sure we got to loose pucks. We played really hard and smart. I thought the guys kept their energy high. We kept saying that if we kept playing this way, we were going to win our share. We talked about it, but it was nice to see the players get the reward."

Some on the Senators bench must have been wondering whether they'd snap their skid when Foligno had a goal called back at 3:06 of the second that would have extended the lead to 2-0. After consulting with the NHL's war room in Toronto, officials Justin St. Pierre and Chris Lee ruled their call that Foligno used a high stick would stand.

RALLYING NO-GOAL

"I thought it was a goal. I knew where my stick was and I guess it was inconclusive, but I know where I had my stick and it was right here (pointing at his chest)," said Foligno, who later got his goal, his fourth of the season, at 10:48 of the third. "The biggest thing is the guys were able to rally around it and score some big goals."

Winchester scored his first in seven games at 17:53 and then Alfredsson extended the lead to 3-0 going to the third with only 45 seconds left in the period. Only New York's Markus Naslund was able to beat Auld.

So, was it the new look?

"When we had black before we had a pretty good record," said Alfredsson. "If we can squeeze a few more games in with the black I won't mind."

They'll have to do it without little-used centre Ilya Zubov, who was sent down to Binghamton of the AHL.


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