Jason Spezza broke his 11-game scoreless streak with a pair of goals -- including the 200th of his career -- as the Ottawa Senators held off the Hurricanes in a 4-3 decision at Scotiabank Place.
"It's been a while since I've scored; they usually come in bunches for me," Spezza said. "It's nice to get my 200th out of the way, and it's obviously a big accomplishment and something to be proud of. Hopefully there's more to come."
David Rundblad notched his first NHL goal while Zack Smith picked up his fourth of the season. Erik Karlsson had two assists, bringing his overall points total to 21, and he now leads all defensemen in scoring.
The Hurricanes came into Scotiabank Place hoping to capitalize on the Sens' lackluster penalty kill, which was ranked 26th in the League at 79.2 percent prior to Sunday's game. But Carolina went 1-for-8 on the power play, with only Ponikarovsky finding the back of the net during the man-advantage.
"I thought we deserved a better fate tonight," said Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, who finished with 21 saves. "Other than that first minute in the first period, I thought we took it to them and overall played a pretty sound game. It's frustrating when wins aren't coming easy, and you feel like you played a good game and don't get rewarded for it. We felt like we generated a lot -- Anderson made some great saves when he had to, and other times we just didn't get the bounces we were looking for."
Ottawa led off the scoring 55 seconds into the first period, when Spezza beat Ward on his glove-hand side off a feed from Sergei Gonchar.
Carolina countered when Brett Sutter passed the puck off to Dwyer, who cruised easily up the right wing and wristed a shot past Anderson at 15:03.
The Sens would go up 2-1 late in the first, as they capitalized on a boarding penalty on Brandon Sutter. Gonchar dished the puck to Spezza, who wired a shot past Ward for his second of the night at 18:03.
Ottawa would make the score 3-1 with 14 seconds left in the second period, as Rundblad's shot from the point was screened and evaded Ward at 19:46.
"It's a great feeling," Rundblad said. "I've been waiting for (my first NHL goal) the whole season, so it's a relief to finally score."
The rookie defenseman's confidence seemed no worse for wear after sitting the past five games.
"Of course, it's tough," he said. "I always want to play, and play more and more every game, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'll just try to work hard here and in practice and hopefully I'll get more chances. I have to play like that -- that's why I'm here. I have to play my game and do what I do best."
The Hurricanes pulled within a goal in the third period, when Joni Pitkanen's shot from the point deflected out front and was pounced on by Staal at 6:46, allowing the captain to break a seven-game scoring drought.
"I was glad to score to get it within one and give us a chance," Staal said. "But it wasn't enough. I know our (competitive) level was there, our guys worked and to not get the result we wanted, it still (stinks)."
The Sens would go up 4-2 when Kaspars Daugavins fed the puck to Smith, who beat Ward stick side as he tumbled to the ice at 12:35.
Carolina got back to within one when Ponikarovsky took advantage on the power play off a pass from Chad LaRose at 16:49.
After sustaining an upper-body injury against the New York Rangers on Nov. 11, Pitkanen returned to the lineup on Sunday and played in his 500th game. Tomas Kaberle was made a healthy scratch in the process -- the first time since his rookie season. Kaberle has struggled in Carolina, with only 5 points (all assists) and a minus-10 rating in 24 games.
"By taking (Kaberle) out, it put other people in better positions," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "As much as Tomas' game has been lacking, it had as much to do with the structure in the back end and putting people in places where they could be successful. This is not about sending a message – it was about addressing the guys who I thought could get it done. Tomas has got some things in his game that we have to fix."
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