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Rookie Prince scores two, Senators defeat Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Rookie Shane Prince scored his first two NHL goals and had an assist, and the Ottawa Senators held on for a 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

Prince's goals came 3:07 apart in the first period to stake goalie Craig Anderson to a 2-0 lead, and the Senators (12-5-5) stretched their winning streak to four games. Anderson made 30 of his 40 saves in the second and third periods.

"Hockey's a funny game," Senators coach Dave Cameron said of Prince. "He's had some chances and they just didn't go in. He got the puck to the net a couple of times, and it went in. Good for him, it was nice to see. We tell guys to keep getting pucks to the net and things will average out. He got that first one and went to the net hard the second one, and good things happen. Guys were really excited on the bench."

The Avalanche (8-13-1), who have lost four of their past five games, played their first home game since Nov. 6 after completing a seven-game road trip. Their 2-6-1 record at home is the NHL's worst.

Zack Smith, who centered a line with Prince and Chris Neil, fed Prince for his second goal and scored at 18:13 of the second period for a 4-1 lead.

The Avalanche outshot the Senators 22-4 in the third and got goals from Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon 1:36 apart to close to within 4-3.

"That's just an indication of back-to-back and travels," said Anderson, who made 33 saves Tuesday in the Senators' 7-4 win against the Dallas Stars to open a three-game trip. "This is a tough place to come up to in altitude. They had much fresher legs than us.

"We played well. We played a simple game considering these were back-to-back games. We weren't going to have our best energy level, but we found a way to get the lead and hold on to it."

Landeskog deflected in MacKinnon's shot at 10:50 on a 6-on-4 power play with Avalanche relief goalie Reto Berra on the bench for an extra skater. MacKinnon scored at 12:26 with a shot from the slot off a pass from Landeskog, closing the gap to a goal.

Colorado went on its fifth power play of the game with 5:49 remaining when Ottawa's Marc Methot was penalized for interference, but the Senators killed it off.

The Avalanche had another power play with 10.2 seconds to go when Milan Michalek tripped Tyson Barrie, but Kyle Turris won the faceoff and Mika Zibanejad scored into an empty net with 6.2 seconds left.

"We need to close it out or tie it up somehow," MacKinnon said. "It's nice that we came back and had a good third, but we're down by three going into the third, so we should be desperate and should have dominated. There's no moral victories, we need points. This was a good opportunity to get them, and we didn't show up."

The Senators, who are 5-0-2 in their past seven games, took a 3-1 lead at 1:48 of the second period on Turris' 11th goal, after which Avalanche coach Patrick Roy replaced starting goalie Semyon Varlamov with Berra.

Turris scored on the Senators' first shot of the period, beating Varlamov from the right hash marks after accepting a centering pass from Mike Hoffman. Varlamov faced 15 shots in all.

Prince, who was Ottawa's second-round pick (No. 61) in the 2011 NHL Draft, was playing in his 15th NHL game. He scored his first goal at 5:54 of the first period after taking a pass from Erik Karlsson. Prince shot from the top of the left circle, and Varlamov thought he covered the puck with his pads, but it trickled across the goal line.

"I haven't been able to get a bounce so far this year," Prince said. "So my mindset was to throw everything on net and shoot every chance I get. Sure

enough, first shift, I get a little squeaker there and the flood gates


Karlsson extended his scoring streak to eight games with the assist, matching his NHL career high. He has five goals and seven assists in the streak.

"That was a bad goal, the first one," Roy said. "Coming off a seven-game road trip ... when I saw the first one going in, I said, 'C'mon, Varly.' That can't happen. That was not a dangerous shot at all. It was coming from the board, and it really hurt us a lot. It took some momentum off of our game. He needs to be better. Period."

Prince scored again at 9:01. Smith skated down the right wing, moved to the bottom of the faceoff circle and slid the puck in front to Prince, who redirected it in for a 2-0 lead.

Avalanche rookie center Chris Wagner followed with his first NHL goal at 10:36 when he banked the puck in off Anderson's right leg during a goal-mouth scramble. Wagner was playing in his 25th NHL game, his fifth since the Avalanche claimed him on waivers Nov. 15 from the Anaheim Ducks.

Colorado's Matt Duchene had his scoring streak stopped at seven games.

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