KANATA, Ont. – The New York Islanders tried to make a go of it on Sunday afternoon, but the Ottawa Senators were having none of it.
Kyle Turris scored an empty-net goal with 2:11 left in the third, capping off a 5-2 victory for the Sens at Scotiabank Place.
Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Chris Neil and Jim O'Brien also scored for Ottawa, while Erik Karlsson added a pair of assists, extending his seven-game scoring streak to 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists). Karlsson now has multi-point nights in six out of last seven games.
PA Parenteau had a goal and an assist, while John Tavares had the other goal for the Islanders.
Robin Lehner, who was called up from Binghamton after Craig Anderson lacerated his hand in an accident at home, made his first start since Oct. 30 and stopped 28 shots. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 19 of 24 shots for only his fourth loss in his last 12 starts.
"I felt pretty comfortable and I felt like I saw the puck well," Lehner said. "The defense helped me out and the backcheckers and trackers came back. They got a couple of good chances, one by my own mistake, but I felt good."
The Islanders got on the board only 49 seconds into the first period, when Parenteau passed from the slot to a waiting Tavares, who beat Lehner five-hole. Tavares has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last six games.
"I didn't put too much thought into that goal," Lehner said. "It was a 3-on-1; I felt I got over there, but it slipped through my arm. Try not to dwell on it."
Lehner also indicated that he was not worrying about the acquisition of prospect Ben Bishop from the St. Louis Blues. The 25-year-old was acquired by the Sens earlier in the day in exchange for a second-round pick in 2013. Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray said prior to the game that Bishop would be signed to a one-year, one-way deal next season, causing competition to brew for the Sens' backup position in 2012-13.
"It's great – they've been talking about getting some more depth at the position," he said. "It's just another guy; another player. It's competition, you know? Everyone competes – it's nothing different for the players. Every year new guys come in, and everyone fighting for spots. I'm just doing my best to help the team right now. I'm not thinking about the future. I'm just enjoying the ride right now."
The Senators, who were coming off a loss 5-3 to Boston on Saturday night, did not get a shot on goal until 11:04. The only highlight for the team in the first came at the other end of the ice, when Lehner made a right pad save on a breakaway from Marty Reasoner at 7:31.
Ottawa would tie things 1-1 at 12:21 on the power play, after David Ullstrom was called for tripping at 10:42. Karlsson's shot from the right half-wall found Michalek, who backhanded the puck past Nabokov for his 28th goal of the season. With his 64th point, Karlsson set a new Senators franchise single- season record for points by a defenseman.
Karlsson joked about not taking the record too seriously.
"You never know, maybe next year a new guy comes along and breaks it," he said. "Obviously it's something I'm happy about, but it's not in my mind right now. I'm going to have to wait until after the season for that."
The Senators would score another goal on the man-advantage at 16:22, with Parenteau in the box for tripping. Spezza wired a shot from the right faceoff circle, easily beating Nabokov's glove. Spezza extends his point streak to nine games, in which his has 8 goals and 12 assists. Ottawa now has 8 power play goals in its last six games.
Ottawa would extend their lead to 3-1 at 5:13, when Mike Mottau gave away the puck to O'Brien, who snapped a quick shot from the left faceoff circle past Nabokov's glove.
However, New York would maintain pressure and capitalized at 9:04, when Parenteau jumped into the slot area and fired a wrist shot past Lehner. Parenteau has 4 goals and 6 assists in eight games.
The Sens wouldn't quit, making the score 4-2 at 12:59, when Nick Foligno dished the puck through the air from the left faceoff dot, and was tapped past Nabokov by Neil.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Islanders, who currently sit in 13th place in the East. With eight points between themselves and the 8th place Winnipeg Jets, time is running out for New York to make the playoffs. The Isles still have two games in hand on the Jets.
"We had a few chances to get a bigger lead there," Parenteau said. "We didn't capitalize on it. I think it would've made a big difference – especially against a team that played last night, and had a quick turnaround today. They got two quick goals there and we had to play from behind. We needed more in some areas and we didn't have it. It wasn't a bad game for us. We just didn't have enough. We know we have some games in hand (to make the playoffs) but this is a tough one."