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Senators top Canucks 3-1 for 11th win in a row

by John Kreiser

Jason Spezza, Brian Elliott and the Ottawa Senators all kept their streaks going on Thursday night -- much to the chagrin of the Vancouver Canucks.

Spezza scored a goal for the eighth game in a row, Elliott stopped 29 shots for his ninth consecutive victory and the Senators extended their team-record winning streak to 11 games with a 3-1 victory over Vancouver.

Elliott's win broke his own team record for longest winning streak. He was 1:39 away from a shutout before Kyle Wellwood scored a power-play goal. Chris Kelly put the game away by hitting the empty net with 40.5 seconds remaining.

"Ells has been phenomenal," Spezza said. "There's not enough we can say about how well he's played. He just keeps it going and it seems like every night he seems better and better, so it's going well for us."

Milan Michalek had a goal and an assist, and Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson had three assists after scoring twice in the final minute to lead the Senators to a 4-2 victory in Buffalo on Wednesday.

Spezza, who scored twice against the Sabres, has goals in all six games since he returned from a knee injury. He also scored in each of his two games prior to his injury, though that is not officially considered part of his streak.

"I'm not too worried. I'm just trying to keep scoring," said Spezza, whose goal streak is a personal best and one game short Dany Heatley's team-record streak of seven. "I'm feeling good about my game right now and just trying to get pucks on net. I can't really worry about what they consider a streak and what they don't -- I consider it a streak, in my mind."

Vancouver, playing the third game of its 14-game trip, lost its second in a row following a seven-game winning streak.

Andrew Raycroft, who recorded his 100th career loss, made 18 saves in his first start since Dec. 5.

The Canucks fell to 1-2 on the eight-game first leg of their record road trip while GM Place is being prepared for the Winter Olympics. Vancouver, which plays six straight on the road following the Games, does not play at home again until the Senators come to town on Mar. 13.

"We had been good on the road prior to these last two games and our game in Montreal, but that being said, we've got a lot of guys whose personal stats on the road are definitely as good as they are at home," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.

Michalek opened the scoring with a power-play goal 1:34 into the game. He was set up in the slot and redirected a pass by Alex Kovalev past Raycroft for his 19th of the season.

Alfredsson faked a shot before dishing off to Alex Kovalev, who held the puck before feeding a pass to the slot which Michalek redirected past Raycroft for his 19th of the season.

Spezza made it 2-0 at 18:03 when he drove to the net and slid the puck past Raycroft.

"Spezza's goal was really big to give us that two-goal cushion, and it allowed us to play a little bit more -- I won't say defensive, but smarter," Alfredsson said. "We didn't have to force as much or take charge. We let them come, and created our chances from turnovers."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

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