'Huge' win for Senators

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Jason Spezza finally gave the Senators a reason to celebrate after a shootout.

For the first time this season, the Senators scored a shootout victory, a thrilling 2-1 decision over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night at Scotiabank Place.

While the Senators' lifetime record of 8-20 in the shootout still leaves a lot to be desired, Spezza beat Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala high on the glove side and Alex Auld stopped both Leafs' shooters he faced. Daniel Alfredsson clinched the victory.

"It's always been my move. It's good for the morale to win the shootout. It's going to help the confidence. We had won a shootout and maybe you get a bit hard on yourself," said Spezza, laughing. "We've played four good games. This is an important stretch and we wanted to get some points."

Centre Mike Fisher scored his fourth goal of the season, while goaltender Alex Auld was solid for Ottawa.

It's the 14th time in 21 regular-season games the Senators have been held to two goals or less. It's no coincidence the club has a 3-11 record in those games.

Winger Shean Donovan, who did some hard work to help set up the opening goal by Fisher, left the game after the second period with what was described as an upper body injury. He will be re-evaluated today and the club will give a further update this morning.

The Senators look like they're going to have to get used to tight-checking, low-scoring games. The Senators limited the chances on Auld, but Toskala was frustrating the Ottawa shooters at the other end of the ice.

Unlike Saturday's 4-1 victory over the Rangers, goals didn't come easily. Spezza, who rarely takes penalties, got three minors in the first two periods.

"To the players there's a little bit of a relief to know that we can win a shootout," said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. "We knew we could win one. We got what we deserved because I thought we worked hard."

TOSKALA STOOD TALL

The Leafs deserve credit. What they lack in talent, they make up for in hard work and when they did give up chances, Toskala stood tall. The Senators came out with plenty of energy in the first period, but Toronto's defenders and Toskala did a good job frustrating them.

"We know that's a huge game for both teams," said Fisher. "It's a good win for us to pull one out. We didn't play well against them in the first game. We stuck with it and to get one in the shootout was huge for us."

Tough guy Andre Deveaux, called up from the AHL's Marlies, failed in his attempts to engage Jarkko Ruutu in a fight. Instead, it was Senators defenceman Jason Smith who got into a tussle with Toronto's Dominic Moore late in the second.

"We've been playing some good games and not gotten two points," said Alfredsson.

The Senators face the New York Islanders tomorrow in Uniondale before opening a three-game homestand Wednesday against Atlanta.


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