OTTAWA (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators seized an opportunity for payback after
once again digging themselves a hole.
Curtis Leschyshyn, Peter Schaefer and Jason Spezza scored to lead Ottawa to
a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Patrick Lalime made 24 saves for the Senators, who scored three straight
goals after falling behind 1-0 for the 19th time in 31 games.
"It's an area we'd certainly like to get better in, but the fact that we
responded and got some momentum afterwards and continued to play well is a nice
sign," Leschyshyn said.
Ottawa, 7-7-2-3 when it has allowed the first goal of the game, avenged its
most lopsided defeat of the season, a 6-2 loss in New York on Nov. 23.
"We got pretty embarrassed when we played there -- we didn't have a good
game and they were all over us, so it was important to have a good strong game
tonight and get a win," defenseman Zdeno Chara said.
Ottawa, which beat Chicago 6-1 on Thursday, improved to 3-1 on its
season-high, five-game homestand.
"We owed them one," Lalime said of the Rangers. "We had that in the back
of our mind and everybody showed up for it."
Darius Kasparaitis scored for New York, which has lost six of nine.
"Lalime made some great saves and we just didn't score," Rangers center
Bobby Holik said. "There are things we could have done better, but that's
Kasparaitis ended a 52-game goal drought 8:01 in. Mark Messier won a draw in
the Ottawa zone back to Kasparaitis, whose slap shot from the point beat Lalime
through the legs for his first goal since Feb. 15.
Leschyshyn tied it with his first of the season at 14:41 as he converted a
setup by Martin Havlat.
"Marty made a great pass and I just shot it at the net," Leschyshyn said.
"I was hoping for the best and fortunately it did go in."
Ottawa took a 2-1 lead 1:26 into the second when Schaefer redirected
defenseman Karel Rachunek's shot past goalie Mike Dunham for his eighth goal.
Spezza increased the Senators' lead to two at 9:22 as he lobbied for a goal
that referee Stephen Walkom had already awarded.
"The ref didn't blow the whistle right away or signal for a goal so I
thought I'd help him out a little bit and make sure he called it a goal,"
Spezza immediately pointed toward the goal line as he began his goal
celebration. He scored by reaching around Dunham in the crease and sweeping the
puck just over the goal line before Rangers defenseman Tom Poti cleared the
"I didn't really get there quick enough, I guess," Poti said. "It must
have crossed the line, but it looked pretty close from where I was."
Chara abruptly threw New York's Matthew Barnaby to the ice before he could
be goaded into a fight 58 seconds in.
"Barnaby just tried to turn the game around out there, that early,"
Rangers coach Glen Sather said. "You've got to give him credit for that."
After they served penalties for unsporstmanlike conduct, Barnaby immediately
threw his gloves to the ice upon his return to the ice and fought a losing
battle as the Senators' defenseman used a decided reach advantage to jab him at
will with his left hand while holding Barnaby's sweater.
"It's my job," Barnaby said. "He's a tough guy and he got the better of
me tonight. That's it."