Two teams heading in opposite directions held true to recent form Thursday night at Rexall Place.
The soaring Ottawa Senators
, winners of three straight on the road after a five-game losing skid, chased Nikolai Khabibulin
with a three-goal first period and cruised to a 5-2 win over the Oilers. Edmonton has now lost four in a row following a 7-1-0 run that included a six-game winning streak.
had a goal and an assist for the Senators (10-9-1), who also received goals from Colin Greening
, Kaspars Daugavins
, Jesse Winchester
and Zenon Konopka
. Craig Anderson
made 22 saves.
"We had a tough start to the season and we have come a long ways since," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
said. "We know where we want to be and that's what the season is for, to build and learn and get better. We are giving ourselves chances right now."
and Ryan Jones
scored for Edmonton (9-7-2), which failed to cash in on a 24-16 shot advantage.
After weathering an early Oiler onslaught, the Senators scored goals on their first two shots, nine seconds apart. At 7:30, Michalek found Greening on a with a sublime pass on a 2-on-1. Greening fired high for his fifth goal of the season. Right off the faceoff, Daugavins flew in from the left and fired a 15-footer past Khabibulin.
"Once we got that goal we were able to relax a little more and execute in our zone a little better," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "Our role players have been very good for the last few games and know we are starting to get some goals out of them. It really helps the team and takes a lot of the weight off the other guys."
Edmonton’s Taylor Hall
also thought the game turned on Ottawa's two quick strikes.
"It was like after they scored those two goals we said 'screw it' and decided to follow our own game plans," he said. "There are holes in our game we need to fix and fix fast. Losing streaks can define you."
Despite a couple of incredible saves on a power play late in the period, Khabibulin was beaten again with 57 seconds to play after a puck bounced to Michalek, who one-timed it low to the goalie’s stick side. Devan Dubnyk
took over for Khabibulin, who allowed three goals on seven shots.
Lander got one back for the Oilers two minutes into the second period, whipping a shot past Anderson’s near post on a shorthanded breakaway.
Winchester restored the three-goal advantage at 7:44, beating Dubnyk easily -- the Oilers had virtually stopped playing after they felt Jordan Eberle
was hooked in the opposite zone, but no penalty was called.
Konopka made it 5-1 with a backhander at 3:17 of the third, and Jones rounded out the scoring on an Edmonton power play with 48 seconds remaining.
Combined with their 3-1 win at Calgary on Tuesday, the win in Edmonton gave Ottawa an Alberta sweep for the first time since 2003.
"I've been around for a long time and it is not too often we have won both games in Alberta," Alfredsson said. "It feels great. Edmonton came out really strong but Anderson played unbelievable and kept us in the game. We got one and then another one quick and that took the air out of them."