Senators on a roll

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Consistency.

It's been as elusive as a good pair of jumper cables around Ottawa.

Senators coach Craig Hartsburg lamented it earlier yesterday, specifically in the case of Jason Spezza -- and the big centre answered with another strong game, helping give his club a bit of a jolt in their 3-2 win over the Thrashers.

Spezza had a goal and an assist in the win, which kicks off the second half of the Senators season and marks the first time they had won two straight since Dec. 3-6, when they defeated Atlanta and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It matches the Senators' longest winning streak of the year.

Now there's a stat.

"We seemed to be a little more sure of what to do. We did a good job of hanging onto the lead in the third tonight," said Spezza, who also had an assist in Tuesday night's 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, but his improved play goes beyond the points. He's been skating better and getting back deeper into the Senators zone, allowing the defencemen to make shorter, higher-percentage passes.

"I know I've got to be good for the team to do well. Hopefully I can be consistent and the team will be the same way."

His power-play goal with less than two minutes to go in the first allowed the Senators to get out of the period tied 2-2 and Dean McAmmond scored his second winning goal in as many nights for the victory, which came after a 4 o'clock arrival from Ottawa yesterday morning. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson also had a goal and an assist.

Rookie goaltender Brian Elliott overcame a bit of a slow start and won his second straight, coming up with a couple of big last-second stops to save the win with the Thrashers pressing.

The Thrashers are 14th in the Eastern Conference and the worst defensive club in the league, but the Senators are in no position to be picky.

THRASHERS KILLER

McAmmond, a bit of a Thrashers killer, had given the Senators a 3-2 lead with a nice individual effort with a little more than five minutes left in the second period. Jarkko Ruutu lofted the puck out of the Ottawa zone and over the Thrashers' defensive duo of rookie Zach Bogosian and veteran Mathieu Schneider and McAmmond used his considerable speed to outrace them to the puck. Falling and with the puck bouncing, McAmmond swiped at the puck and it found the space between Lehtinen's pads.

"I only score game winners," he joked after the game. "I knew they were catching me. I just tried to get a shot off. I think it was a good win, a late night, back-to-back games ... we gave them something early and got it back, got the lead and kept it. We kept our composure and that's the way you've got to play to get these wins."

Special teams had been the story to that point with three of the four goals -- and both of Ottawa's -- coming on the power play. Former Senator Todd White had beaten Elliott with a snapshot through the pads to open the scoring.

Alfredsson got that one back when it looked like he slightly muffed a one-timer off a setup from Mike Fisher and the change of pace appeared to fool Lehtinen at 6:41.

Elliott couldn't get the handle on a bouncing puck at the edge of the crease with a bit less than five minutes to go in the period and Chris Thorburn didn't miss.

But the Senators' power play bailed them out again, this time with Spezza rifling a one-timer through a screen that beat Lehtinen.

"The power play in the first period was huge for us," said Hartsburg. "You need goals like that when you're on the road and behind."

The Senators will shoot for a season-high three straight wins Saturday when they host the Montreal Canadiens.


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