OTTAWA (AP) -The Ottawa Senators knew what was at stake, and they stepped up against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Antoine Vermette had a goal in regulation and another in the shootout Tuesday night as the Senators defeated the struggling Flyers 3-2. Jason Spezza scored the shootout winner, while Chris Kelly had the other regulation goal for the Senators, who ended a three-game winless streak.
"That was huge for us," Vermette said. "The standings are tight right now, we all know that, but we battled hard and we found a way to win."
The win allowed Ottawa to keep pace with the Montreal Canadiens, who were 6-5 winners in a shootout over the New York Rangers. The Senators have been in first place in the conference since the first game of the season, but a pair of victories by Montreal last weekend drew the Canadiens even with the Senators.
"I came down and was looking top glove and he took it away then I saw him open up the five-hole, so it was nice to get," Spezza said of his shootout goal on Martin Biron.
Kimmo Timonen and Scottie Upshall scored for the Flyers, winless in eight straight.
"Marty was key and we need him to step up," forward Daniel Briere said. "It's been a tough time for our goalies, not that they're playing bad, but the wins are hard to come by."
Both goaltenders made big stops through regulation and into a wide-open overtime period. Biron made 33 saves for the Flyers, but made only one save in the shootout.
Ray Emery wasn't quite as busy for the Senators as he faced just 11 shots through the first two periods and 25 overall. He added two saves in the shootout.
The Senators have little time to reflect on the victory, facing a stretch of four games in six nights beginning Thursday against Columbus.
"Hopefully we can build on this game and go forward and get our game going," Vermette said.
Upshall scored the lone goal of the third period as he tipped Jim Dowd's point shot past Emery to tie it at 2 a little more than three minutes into the period.
Each team had a short-handed goal after two periods, but an even-strength goal had the Senators up 2-1 heading into the third period.
Kelly opened the scoring on a breakaway less than three minutes into the game and that short-handed goal gave the Senators a 1-0 lead.
In the second period, Vermette tipped a shot past Biron to make it 2-0.
Timonen redirected a pass from R.J. Umberger past Emery on the Flyers' 10th shot of the game, cutting the lead in half with less than a minute left in the period.
Notes: The Flyers acquired D Jaroslav Modry from the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft. ... Claude Giroux made his NHL debut for the Flyers in front of family and friends. Giroux, a member of the Gatineau Olympiques and leading scorer in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, lives 15 minutes east of Ottawa with his family.