Spezza leads Sens past Thrashers

Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza (19) celebrates his goal with teammate Erik Karlsson (R) behind...

Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza (19) celebrates his goal with teammate Erik Karlsson (R) behind Atlanta Thrashers' goalie Ondrej Pavelec (31) during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Ottawa November 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

OTTAWA - Suddenly, there's no stopping these Senators.

Jason Spezza had two goals and an assist as Ottawa continued its climb up the standings with its fourth straight victory, 5-2 over the Atlanta Thrashers, Tuesday at Scotiabank Place.

"We did a good job of taking over the game, getting some goals and I thought we played pretty well all around," said Spezza. "We were a little sloppy once we got the big lead, but for the most part I thought we played well.

"I'm feeling better now. Our line is starting to get some chemistry."

Jesse Winchester, Chris Neil and Sergei Gonchar also had goals as the Senators picked up their sixth win in seven games.

Coach Cory Clouston said the Senators have been playing with confidence.

"It's been a process. It just didn't happen automatically," he said. "The last little while we've been able to put more of a complete game together. Most of that is confidence.

"We put a little too much pressure on ourselves to erase (the poor start to the season). Right now, we're just about our game and the outcome will work out for us."

Goaltender Brian Elliott wasn't tested a lot, but he did have to be solid with 35 stops.

Spezza, who has seven points in the club's last two home games, scored his second of the night at 1:23 of the third with a wrister that beat Ondrej Pavelec.

Anthony Stewart and Andrew Ladd, both on the power play, scored for the Thrashers.

Making his 11th straight start since Pascal Leclaire was injured last month, Elliott was helped by the fact Rich Peverley hit the post early in the second.

Drought over for Jesse

Winchester's first goal of the season, at 9:12 of the second period, sent Atlanta starter Chris Mason to the showers after he allowed four goals on 18 shots.

The goal, that broke Winchester's 51-game drought dating back to Dec. 10, 2009, was the result of some good work by the struggling Nick Foligno down low. All Winchester had to do was push the puck into the net.

"It was nice to contribute," said Winchester. "Our line has been playing well. Hopefully, we can keep it going."

Neil broke his 14-game goal-less streak with his first goal since April 10 when he tipped a Chris Phillips blast past Mason on the stick side.

For the sixth time this season, the Senators were ahead after 20 minutes. Gonchar ripped a shot from the point past Mason at 15:39 to give Ottawa a 2-1 advantage after Spezza won a faceoff in the Atlanta zone.

The Senators are 6-0-0 when leading after the first.

Spezza's third of the season for the Senators at 11:05 tied it 1-1. On a feed from defenceman David Hale, he fired a wrist shot from the circle that beat Mason on the glove side.

Ladd opened the scoring for the Thrashers with the man advantage at 4:01. With defenceman Erik Karlsson just settling into the penalty box, Ladd tucked a backhander underneath Elliott.

The Senators were pleased they were able to bounce back after falling behind early.

"Once we got going, it seemed like things got rolling for us," said Neil. "We got some good scoring chances and we were able to capitalize on them. We went to the net and the coaching staff has been telling us to go there and we'll get rewarded."

The Senators host the Vancouver Canucks Thursday before starting a four-game road trip in Boston.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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