Bell rings up Sens winner

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Brendan Bell will be heading up north for the all-star break and might his beverage of choice taste just a little bit better now?

"Yup. The orange juice will taste just a little bit sweeter," said the Senators defenceman after his power-play goal with a bit more than a minute to go in regulation time gave the Senators a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place.

The win gives the surging Senators -- did you think that adjective would be used at any point this season? -- seven out of a possible eight points (3-0-1) in the runup to the all-star break and keeps their playoff hopes hooked up to life support for another week.

"This is what we needed going into the break," said Bell. "Things are starting to turn for us. We've been through a lot here. This is nice and well deserved."

Even that it was Bell that got the goal is the way the luck has changed for the Senators.

A healthy scratch for the last three games, Bell got in the lineup when forward Shean Donovan hurt himself by crashing into the boards during the fastest skater competition at the skills competition Sunday and winger Chris Neil got sick with the flu.

Funny how things work out, huh?

So there was Bell jumping down from the right point with time running out on a tripping penalty to Washington's Alexander Semin. Bell corralled a pass from forward Antoine Vermette -- it would turn out to be Vermette's third assist of the night -- and had his attempted pass blocked. But the puck came right back to him and he fired it past Capitals goalie Jose Theodore.

"Lucky I'm not a good passer. It came right back on my tape," said Bell.

The goal -- two years to the night Bell scored his first NHL goal -- allowed the Senators to rebound from a second period when it was clear why there was 26 points difference in the standings between the two clubs going into the game.

CAPS STORM BACK

After giving up a pair of power-play goals to Ottawa's Dany Heatley in the first period, the Caps stormed out in the second period and dominated the Senators while tying the game on goals by Sergei Fedorov and David Steckel.

Steckel's goal at 9:58 of the second was the Caps' 13th shot of the period against, let's see here, oh, yeah, none for the Senators.

The Caps wound up outshooting Ottawa 19-3 in the second and that only hinted at the one-sided nature of the middle 20 minutes.

The Senators didn't do themselves any favours by taking the only three minors of the second.

"When they have the power play, you're under siege," said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. "It's an amazing power play.

"It's a good win, a big win."

The Senators have pulled to within a point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for 12th spot in the East and are within two of the 11th-place Maple Leafs.

Senators goalie Brian Elliott, making his fifth straight start, was busy and good.

Heatley scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season to get the Senators out to a quick start, giving him four goals in his last two games and five in his last four games as he heads off as the Senators' representative at the all-star game this weekend in Montreal.

The Senators are now off until next Tuesday when they host the New Jersey Devils.


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