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Michalek, Lehner power Senators past Oilers

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA -- Milan Michalek had two goals and an assist to help the Ottawa Senators to a 7-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.

The Senators (22-22-10) won for the second time in six games (2-3-1) and matched their season-high for goals in a game (Jan. 31 vs. Arizona Coyotes).

The Oilers (16-32-9) are 2-3-0 on their six-game road trip which ends Monday against the Winnipeg Jets.

Michalek had three goals in his first 36 games; he has seven in his past 13 games with four assists.

He was one of eight Senators to have a multipoint game.

"I feel the same (physically) as always, it’s just the confidence. That’s the big thing in hockey. It feels like the pucks are coming to me now," he said.

Michalek replaced forward Clarke MacArthur, who was scratched because of the flu, with center Kyle Turris and forward Mark Stone.

"It’s good. Some other guys scored as well, and hopefully we can get some confidence and get on some kind of a roll right now," Michalek said.

"We’ve got five of our last six points (2-0-1) and, hopefully, we can turn the corner and get some wins together. It was huge that we played for 60 minutes and we didn’t have any letdowns. We haven’t been able to do that in many games. It’s great to see and hopefully we can keep it going like this."

Senators goaltender Robin Lehner, making his eighth straight start with No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson out with a hand injury, made 25 saves. Lehner is 3-4-1 since Anderson sustained his injury.

Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth started the game and allowed three goals on 15 shots before being replaced by Richard Bachman, who allowed four goals on 27 shots.

Senators forward Chris Neil fractured his thumb in a fight with Edmonton’s Luke Gazdic in the second period and will be out indefinitely. The injury likely ends speculation Neil could be traded by NHL Trade Deadline on March 2.

The Oilers had won two of their past three games and were coming off a 4-3 win in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.

Edmonton couldn’t keep up its string of good efforts and had a bad start to the second period when Ottawa outscored it 3-1 in the first four minutes.

"Before today we put three really good games together. I don’t know where that (today) came from," Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. "You could tell right off the first five minutes we were struggling managing the puck, we were doing things that are uncharacteristic of how we played the last three games before today. I don’t know where it came from, but we’re going to have to fix it quick."

The teams combined for four goals on five shots in the second period when the Senators took a 4-2 lead.

Senators defenseman Cody Ceci took a cross-ice pass from Erik Condra 41 seconds into the period and put a shot past Fasth to the short side to make it 2-1.

Sixteen seconds later, Turris scored his 12th goal when his shot from the right wing hit Fasth’s right shoulder and bounced into the net to give Ottawa a 3-1 lead.

Nelson replaced Fasth with Bachman, who made his 2014-15 NHL debut.

"We have to look ourselves in the mirror, everybody, including myself. It wasn’t good enough," Fasth said. "We were tied after the first, and I think we were lucky we got away with just a tie after the first. You give up two quick goals … I need to make a save there to keep us in the game and I didn’t today."

Mark Fayne scored his second goal to cut the Ottawa lead to 3-2 at 3:06 when his shot from the point found the net behind Lehner’s glove hand. Fayne’s goal was an interesting one with three defensemen in on the score. Oilers captain Andrew Ference passed the puck to defenseman Jeff Petry and Ference was replaced on the ice by Fayne.

Petry carried the puck up the right wing and passed it to Fayne for the goal.

The loose defensive play at both ends continued and Michalek scored his second of the game on a 2-on-1, 38 seconds after Fayne’s goal. Michalek’s one-timer off a pass by Turris found the upper part of the net on Bachman’s stick side.

Ottawa forward Alex Chiasson scored his second goal in 21 games at 18:44 of the second on a good setup by Condra from behind the net. Condra spun to beat Edmonton defenseman Martin Marincin and centered the puck to Chiasson in the slot.

Chiasson’s shot hit the stick of Edmonton forward Rob Klinkhammer and popped into the air and into the net to make it 5-2.

Michalek opened the scoring on the power play at 7:18 of the first period jumping on a big rebound of a shot by Mike Hoffman.

The goal was the 17th on the power play at home for the Senators this season, one more than they had last season.

The assist was Hoffman’s 31st point, his first on the power play.

Hoffman scored his Senators-leading 19th goal at 14:07 of the third when he finished off a nice three-way passing play from Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad. Hoffman is tied with Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators for the NHL rookie lead in goals.

"I was telling someone going into the intermission; I wouldn’t have thought it would take this long (to get a power-play point). I guess you never know," Hoffman said. "It feels good to get the first one out of the way. Maybe now I’ll rack up a few more before the season ends."

David Legwand scored his eighth goal at 15:59 of the third period to make it 7-2.

The Oilers tied the game 1-1 at 15:17 of the first period when forward Derek Roy finished off a 2-on-1 with a shot over Leher’s glove.

The play saw Ottawa defensemen Eric Gryba and Mark Borowiecki caught up the ice and Ryan defending the odd-man rush.

The Senators will try to win two games in a row for the first time since Dec. 29-Jan. 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes at Canadian Tire Centre on Monday.

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