OTTAWA -- Antoine Roussel scored with 2:14 left to give the Dallas Stars a 2-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday.
Roussel got to a loose puck in front of the Ottawa net and lifted a shot over goaltender Andrew Hammond to give the Stars (40-20-7) their second win in a row.
Jason Spezza scored for Dallas, and goaltender Kari Lehtonen made 23 saves to help the Stars keep pace with the Chicago Blackhawks in the race for first place in the Central Division and the Western Conference. Each team has 87 points, but the Blackhawks have two more regulation and overtime wins.
Zack Smith scored for the Senators (31-29-7), and Hammond made 23 saves. The Senators are six points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
The Stars won two straight games for the first time in three weeks and are 3-5-2 in their past 10.
Video: DAL@OTT: Spezza tees up a slap shot, ties the game
"We were able to come out on top with hard work at the end," Roussel said. "A couple of good shifts from everybody, and then we got the momentum. They were on their heels."
On the winning goal, Stars forward Ales Hemsky looked like he had opening to Hammond's right, but he opted to pass into the slot. The puck wound up in Senators defenseman Chris Wideman's skates, and Roussel pounced on it.
Roussel said he liked the way the high-scoring Stars were able to grind out a win on the road.
"We've got to learn to not get frustrated, I think," he said. "We're a team that wants to score. We've been scoring in the past. It's tough to take away that habit of wanting more goals. At the same time, that's a good lesson for us. We still win when we hang in there and just happen to get a good bounce and boom, we come out on top. That's a good way to learn for the last stretch."
Late in a game tied 1-1, Senators coach Dave Cameron had his third defense pair -- Wideman and Michael Kostka, who was playing his first game of the season -- on the ice.
Video: DAL@OTT: Lehtonen makes stop, keeps game scoreless
Cameron said it was the right choice given the Senators were playing their second game in as many nights and Stars coach Lindy Ruff had put out his third line.
"Any time there's a goal scored against you, you can pick something apart," Cameron said. "But at the end of the day, it's a back-to-back game, they didn't have one of their top two lines on, and you know they're coming back with those top two lines. No excuses."
Smith gave the Senators a 1-0 lead at 4:45 of the second period with his 18th of the season and his ninth in his past 15 games.
With Smith in the penalty box, Spezza tied it at 14:05 of the second with a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that went just under the crossbar -- a shot Senators fans saw often in his 11 seasons with Ottawa.
With the goal, his 24th of the season, Spezza has scored against all 30 NHL teams, the Stars said.
Video: DAL@OTT: Smith scores off of a feed from Stone
"I've scored from that spot a few times. I wasn't looking at that all the way," Spezza said. "I had a look earlier and I saw where they were blocking; they were blocking the far side. I kind of got my head up and [Stars forward Brett Ritchie] had a big, good screen, and that's my favorite shot, probably. It felt good. I've scored a few from there. It felt good to get another one."
Said Hammond, "I think everyone in this area knows he's got a great shot from there. Good through the seam pass, just kind of late picking it up with the guy in front. Ultimately, part of the difference tonight."
Curtis Lazar appeared to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead when he beat Lehtonen with a backhand shot at 5:36 of the third period, but after Ruff challenged the ruling on the ice, the goal was overturned when video review determined Senators forward Mike Hoffman was offside on the play.
Ottawa had two power plays in the first period but couldn't get the puck behind Lehtonen, who made a big save during each Dallas penalty kill.
"I don't think we played our best game, but I thought our goaltender gave us a real good performance and I thought our special teams made the difference," Ruff said. "Two early kills, and I felt both power plays we could have scored.
Video: DAL@OTT: Hammond denies a pair of shots by Ritchie
"We've played a lot better games and lost. To end up fighting through it and finding a way to win it, it's an important two points for us."
The Senators lost for the fourth time in their past six games (2-3-1).
"I thought we deserved better than that tonight," Smith said. "We went up against one of the best teams in the League, and I thought we outplayed them for the majority of the game. That one stings, to give them that one at the end."
Video: Spezza, Roussel score as Stars edge Senators, 2-1