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Spezza powers Senators to 4-1 win over Isles

by John Kreiser

Jason Spezza was too much for the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Ottawa's No. 1 center had a goal and 3 assists as the Senators rolled to a 4-1 victory at Scotiabank Place, handing the reeling Islanders their sixth consecutive loss.

David Hale and Spezza scored 2:30 apart in the second period to turn a 1-0 lead into a three-goal game, and that was more than enough against the Islanders, who've scored just five goals in their last four games. Matt Moulson scored a power-play goal 3:40 into the third period, and Brian Elliott stopped shorthanded breakaways by Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen on the same penalty after Matt Martin was called for boarding with 7:57 to play.

"After the first save, you're pretty confident (with the second guy) coming down," Elliott said. "It's just one of those games that you have to try to see what happens and give the guys a chance to win.

"We made a couple of mistakes shorthanded, but saving those ones definitely helps out."

Kelly added an empty-net goal as Spezza earned his third assist, completing the ninth four-point game of his career.

It's kind of nice to get on the board a little bit," said Spezza, who's been hampered by a groin injury for most of the season. "This is the first night I've felt really good skating-wise. Usually when I skate well, it's the strength of my game."

Coach Cory Clouston was happy with the way Spezza worked with Peter Regin and Alexei Kovalev.

"I thought that whole line played well. They used each other properly. With a little bit of luck, (Spezza) could have had one or two more as well," Clouston said.

Elliott finished with 28 saves. Dwayne Roloson stopped 23 shots but missed a couple of shots he could have stopped.

The Islanders (4-7-2) have not led in any of the six games during the losing streak and were coming off a 7-2 loss at Carolina on Wednesday that followed a 6-1 drubbing in Philadelphia last Saturday. Coach Scott Gordon said the effort was better this time, but not good enough.

"We have to start somewhere," he said. "This probably was the least amount of chances we've given up. There were some plusses that we didn't have in the last two games."

Ottawa has won five of six after a 1-4-1 start to get back to even at 6-6-1.

The Isles came out strong. Doug Weight missed an open net after Elliott stopped Trevor Gillies' shots, and they received a five-minute power play when Zack Smith received a boarding major 3:09 into the game. But New York generated little on the long power play, and Ottawa grabbed the lead when Spezze found Sergei Gonchar in the right circle for a wrister past Roloson at 12:20.

Hale scored for only the fourth time in 339 NHL games when his high wrist shot from the left circle got inside the near post 3:47 into the middle period. Spezza's wrister from the high slot sailed past Roloson's attempt to catch it at 6:17 for a 3-0 margin, with the goaltender slamming his stick in frustration.

Moulson finally got the Islanders on the board when he took a perfect pass from John Tavares, got Elliott to go down and lifted a 10-footer into the net. But Elliott robbed both Comeau and Nielsen on breakaways before Kelly hit the empty net, sending the Islanders home with another loss. They haven't won since beating Tampa Bay 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 21.

"It's tough to be positive," said Tavares, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft. "It was a better effort. We can't get down on ourselves for too long."

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