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Ellis shuts down Senators

The SportsXchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Goalie Dan Ellis has given the Carolina Hurricanes something to think about with their goalie rotation.

Ellis, making his second start of the season, stopped 33 shots and Eric Staal's first-period goal held up as the Hurricanes defeated the Ottawa Senators 1-0 Friday night at PNC Arena.

"We were able to get some good habits and that's something to build on," said Ellis, who's slotted as the team's No. 2 goalie behind Cam Ward.

But with Ward struggling coming out of the NHL lockout, Ellis has looked more in tune in the first couple of weeks of the season. Ellis spent a few months during the lockout playing for the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League simply trying to be ready to make the NHL roster.

"Playing in the (AHL) gave me a chance to find my own game," he said.

Ellis, in his first season with the Hurricanes, posted his 13th career shutout in his 168th game. It was his first shutout since Nov. 9, 2010, when his Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Staal's fifth goal of the season enabled the Hurricanes to even their record at 3-3-0. Ottawa (5-2-1) was denied its second three-game winning streak of the season.

"We probably didn't generate enough," Senators right wing Erik Condra said. "We'll have to bounce back from this one."

The Senators had scored at least three goals in all except one of their previous seven games.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was strong as well, building on a superb start to the season even though he lost in regulation for the first time in seven appearances. He made 34 saves.

"The way to beat him is you can't give up a goal," said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller, who was noncommittal about who would start as goalie Saturday night at the Philadelphia Flyers.

Staal said Ellis' performance was soothing to a degree.

"When he got those chances, he looked really comfortable," the captain said.

Ellis said the Hurricanes have worked the past few games on giving goalies a better look at pucks. He said the team's three-day layoff prior to Friday night's game probably helped as well.

"It gave us a chance to jell with each other," Ellis said.

Staal, cutting in front of Anderson, redirected Alexander Semin's shot to produce the game's goal. Joe Corvo was also credited with an assist for the defenseman's first point of the season.

Carolina led after the first period for the first time this season.

There were a number of missed scoring changes in a matchup between the two teams ranking first and second in the NHL in shots per game.

"We weren't patient enough," Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "We weren't confident enough to make the right plays."

The Hurricanes thought they had a 2-0 lead midway through the second period on Jeff Skinner's shot. That was negated when it was determined the puck went off the cross bar and not into the net.

Shortly after, the Hurricanes preserved their lead by killing off a four-minute double minor assessed to defenseman Jamie McBain.

"That's a big momentum swing for our hockey club," Muller said. "Gave us that energy. Ellis made some big saves as well."

Carolina left wing Drayson Bowman was in the penalty box for boarding just 13 seconds into the game, but the Senators didn't convert.

Notes: Right wing Andreas Nodl made his season debut with the Hurricanes after he was recalled from Charlotte of the AHL. ... The Senators will be without center Jason Spezza indefinitely after he had surgery Friday for a herniated disc. Spezza had five points in five games. ... The Hurricanes lost forward Zach Boychuk, a first-round draft pick in 2008, via waivers to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had played in the opener for Carolina before sitting as a healthy scratch in every game since then. ... Carolina played its sixth game Friday, becoming the last team in the Eastern Conference to play its sixth game. ... The Hurricanes play their next six games on the road, beginning with Saturday night's game at Philadelphia. They'll be home again Feb. 14 against Toronto.

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