NEW YORK - Chris Kelly snapped a second-period tie, and Martin Gerber came back from a day off to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-1 victory over Sean Avery and the New York Rangers on Sunday night.
Gerber, who sat out the Senators' 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago at home on Saturday night, made 34 saves to earn his fourth win in five outings. He gave up Scott Gomez's goal 3:42 in and then held off New York the rest of the way.
Jason Spezza and Kelly wiped out an early deficit for the Senators, who lead the Eastern Conference with 50 points (23-8-4). Ottawa got back to its winning ways after going 0-1-1 following six straight victories.
Mike Fisher made it 3-1 when his shot from the right point, after a turnover by New York's Chris Drury, hit Rangers defenceman Marc Staal and caromed in at 9:08 of the third period.
The Senators took the season series 3-1 and have won 16 of 20 from the Rangers since the 2002-03 season.
Avery returned to the Rangers after missing 11 games following wrist surgery. He jawed and jostled and hit anyone he could starting from his first shift in the opening two minutes. It just wasn't enough.
The Rangers fell to 9-5-1 in games he's played this season. New York was 8-10-3 during his two injury stints.
After a strong first period, the Rangers seemed to lose energy, perhaps showing the effects of playing for the fifth time in eight days - including a quick trip to Minnesota and Colorado.
Henrik Lundqvist rebounded from consecutive games in which he allowed a total of 10 goals, and made 22 saves. The Rangers lost for the fifth time in seven games (2-3-2).
Kelly netted the go-ahead goal by cleaning up after a strong effort by Shean Donovan.
Donovan moved up and around Staal, forced to dive on his stomach to deny Donovan's progress after his stick broke, and got a shot in on Lundqvist. The rebound popped out above the crease to Kelly, who shovelled in his seventh goal to make it 2-1 with 7:44 left in the second period.
Paced by Avery's energy, the Rangers came out skating hard and looking for contact.
New York cycled the puck in the Ottawa zone, until Jaromir Jagr sent it in front from the right boards. Gomez put a backhanded deflection into Gerber and then found the rebound and knocked in his ninth goal at 3:42.
Since being reunited on a line with Jagr and Martin Straka three games earlier, Gomez has three goals and three assists, while Jagr has five assists.
But for the third straight game, the Rangers couldn't protect a 1-0 lead.
The Senators got control of the puck in the Rangers end after a neutral zone faceoff. Spezza let go a shot that appeared to dip and got by a surprised Lundqvist inside the left post with 3:44 remaining in the first.
It was a frustrating end to the period for the Rangers, who dictated play. They set the tone and were able to create offence to the tune of a 12-5 shots advantage.
Gerber had a lot to do that as he looked much steadier than he did in New York's 5-2 win at Ottawa on Dec. 1. The Rangers snapped a five-game losing streak to the Senators that day after jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes.
Notes: Gomez has a nine-game point streak (four goals, eight assists). ... Spezza has points in seven straight games (seven goals, eight assists). He also has at least one point in 16 of 17. ... The Senators are 4-6-2 when the opponent scores first. ... The Rangers haven't won the season series from Ottawa since 2001-02.