OTTAWA (AP) -Jason Spezza scored a late goal to give Ray Emery some room for error - not that the Senators' goalie needed it.
Emery made 27 saves in his fifth shutout and the Ottawa Senators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on Wednesday night to complete and a home-and-home sweep of the Stanley Cup champions.
Jason Spezza put the Senators up by two 4:41 into the third, and assisted on Dany Heatley's team-leading 38th goal in the first.
"Any time you're holding onto a one-goal lead it's a little bit dangerous," Spezza said. "A bounce here or a bounce there and they can tie it up so it was good to get that second goal. It gave us a little bit of breathing room."
Emery dived to make a glove save against Justin Williams during the first of two Hurricanes power-play opportunities late in the third to earn his eighth career shutout.
"It's been a while since I've had a normal game," said Emery, who was ejected Thursday from the first of two feisty games against Buffalo after he returned from a three-game league suspension. "I felt a bit awkward, even tonight. I wasn't feeling totally confident but towards the end I started seeing the puck better and it was a great game for me to get my feet back under me as the team continues to improve while heading into the playoffs."
The Senators won 4-2 at Carolina on Tuesday behind backup - and former Hurricanes goalie - Martin Gerber after claiming three of a possible four points in consecutive games against East leaders Buffalo.
"Back-to-back is always tough, especially against the same team," Spezza said. "It was a pretty up-tempo game last game and both teams got in late but the intensity was there. They're not the most physical team so it wasn't as physical as maybe the Buffalo games, but they were still tough games and we were both tired teams, definitely."
Ottawa, which has won eight of nine (8-0-1), became the third Eastern Conference team to reach 80 points. The Senators improved their hold on fourth place in the conference by moving five points ahead of Pittsburgh.
"It's so tight," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who rejoined Heatley and Spezza on Ottawa's top line. "We're looking at fourth place and home ice advantage but at the same time, we've got to make the playoffs, first and foremost. To do that we've got to keep winning and building up distance winning games like this."
Cam Ward, who didn't start Tuesday, stopped 24 shots for the Hurricanes, ninth in the East with 71 points. Carolina, which won six of nine (6-3-0) before the sweep by Ottawa, is one point behind Montreal and the playoff cutoff.
"We don't need anyone to tell us that. We can look at the standings ourselves and see where we're at and see where our desperation level needs to be," Williams said. "As of now, we're out of the playoffs and that's inexcusable for this team, this franchise."
Heatley used a nifty move off of Spezza's rebound to beat Ward 3:54 in.
Spezza chased down Chris Phillips' shot off the end boards and swatted the puck toward the net from behind the goal line. Heatley got the puck at the right side of the net, shifting it to his forehand before stuffing a shot along the ice inside the left post.
"I just caught him off guard," Heatley said. "The first shot went behind the net and when he turned around, I just beat him to the far post."
After stopping 11 shots in the first, Ward needed to make only one save during a lengthy two-man Senators advantage early in the second. But his teammates couldn't solve Emery at the other end.
Spezza was the beneficiary of a fine defensive play by teammate Andrej Meszaros that led to the Senators' second goal 4:41 into the third.
Meszaros stripped the puck from Cory Stillman on a 4-on-4, and defense partner Wade Redden fed a breakaway pass to Spezza, who beat Ward with a wrist shot into the top right corner for his 27th goal.
Notes: Carolina and Montreal have played 66 games, two more than 10th-place Toronto (69 points). ... It was Phillips' 600th NHL game. He ranks fourth in franchise history behind Alfredsson (765), Redden (741) and Radek Bonk (689). ... LW Oleg Saprykin made his Ottawa debut after being acquired from Phoenix on Tuesday.