Spezza nets shootout winner

Sens' Jason Spezza scores his shootout goal against Oilers' Jeff Deslauriers Tuesday night at...

Sens' Jason Spezza scores his shootout goal against Oilers' Jeff Deslauriers Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. (Sun Media/Tony Caldwell)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

Even an ugly win can be a thing of beauty.

On a night winger Jonathan Cheechoo finally scored his first goal in an Ottawa uniform, Jason Spezza was the hero, scoring the winner in a 4-3 shootout decision over the Edmonton Oilers.

Chris Neil and Nick Foligno also scored for the Senators, while goaltender Pascal Leclaire made 31 stops in regulation. Spezza, the third Senator in the shootout, tucked it underneath Jeff Deslauriers after a deke.

“I kind of committed to my move early, I wasn’t really too concerned what he was going to do because we don’t know him too well,” said Spezza.

“I just got in my mind what I wanted to do and tried to execute. I think it went of the post.

“They play a very control defensive game, very similar to how New Jersey just played us and a little different from Oilers teams of the past. That’s probably their road-game plan. We’re just happy to get two points and move on.”

With 6:49 left in the third, Neil scored what should have been the winner by going hard to the net and pushing the puck underneath Deslauriers. Up to that point, the Senators had relied on Leclaire to save the day. Gilbert Brule then slipped a shot through Leclaire’s five-hole at 15:17.

“We needed the two points. You look at the standings and (yesterday) we were out of the playoffs,” said Neil. “We consider ourselves a playoff team. That’s where we want to be and that’s our goal in the locker room.”

With a 1-2-2 lifetime record and .856 save-percentage against the Oilers going into the game, Leclaire had a lot to prove. He had to be spectacular in the third.

Breaking a 15-game slump that stretched back to April 5 with San Jose, Cheechoo’s first goal with the Senators was a beauty. It came as a result of some hard work by Alex Kovalev, who knocked Oilers defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky off the puck in the corner. Kovalev then threw it out front to Cheechoo, who fired a bullet upstairs.

“It was nice to get the goal. I hadn’t scored in a while so I was getting stressed a little bit,” said Cheechoo. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to do certain things and scoring is one of them. This will help me relax a bit.”

The Senators travel to Philadelphia tomorrow to face former teammate Ray Emery and the Flyers. Game time is 7 p.m.


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