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Three-goal third rallies Senators past Isles

by Brian Hunter
It was an exhilarating sendoff to the Olympic break for the Ottawa Senators. For the New York Islanders, it was simply a disappointment.

Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher scored goals 1:33 apart in the third period Sunday and the Senators rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 win over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Alex Kovalev started the comeback and Jarkko Ruutu also scored for Ottawa, which reclaimed first place in the Northeast Division with the two points. Brian Elliott finished with 34 saves and won his 12th game since Jan. 18, tops in the League.

"To be able to win like we have in the past month-and-a half, it takes a lot of emotional energy," Clouston said. "It's a good opportunity for us to just get away, come back energized and refocused and get ready to make that last push."

Fresh off a one-goal win over the Lightning on Saturday, the Islanders could have closed to within four points of an Eastern Conference playoff berth with a victory. They led 3-1 on a pair of goals by Blake Comeau and one from Matt Moulson, but let it slip away.

“We’ll put it behind us,” a visibly disappointed coach Scott Gordon said. “We have plenty of time before our next game.”

It appeared as though the Senators would be the ones going into the break with a bad taste in their mouths, but everything changed over the final 20 minutes.

After killing off 56 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play for the Islanders, they cut their deficit to a goal when Kovalev beat Dwayne Roloson on a wrist shot inside the left post at the 3:47 mark.

"In the third period, we took over and forechecked harder," Spezza said. "When you start taking more chances, they sit back on their heels and it was too late to change momentum back."

A slashing penalty to Bruno Gervais led to Spezza scoring on the power play at 9:13, the game-tying goal representing his 12th in 13 games. Moments later, Fisher put Ottawa in front to stay when he tipped in a Filip Kuba feed for his 20th of the season, tying Milan Michalek for the team lead.

"I saw (Kuba) rounding the corner and he just looked up, saw me and made a sick pass," Fisher said. "It was an easy one for me. Right on my stick. It was all him."

Ruutu opened the scoring for the Senators at 6:16 of the first, but the Islanders took control of the game after that. Comeau evened the scoring with 4:06 left in the period, beating Elliott to his glove side with a slap shot from the top of the left circle.

Moulson’s team-leading 22nd of the season made it 2-1 in the second. He redirected Trent Hunter’s feed to the goal mouth at 5:05 after Hunter had chipped the puck away from Ottawa forward Jesse Winchester. New York increased its lead on Comeau’s second of the game, a point-blank wrist shot with 6:03 remaining in the period.

"We didn't have to do anything but keep playing," said Roloson, who stopped 31 shots. "Unfortunately, we made mistakes in our end that ended up in our net."

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

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