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Senators goaltending stays hot in win over Islanders

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA -- Getting big saves and ugly goals will be key for the Ottawa Senators if they are to stay in the playoff mix without their injured scoring stars.

They received both in a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders at Scotiabank Place Tuesday night.

A day after backup Ben Bishop was the star of a 2-1 victory in New Jersey over the Devils, No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson performed as sensationally as he has most of the season, making 37 saves in the first of a four-game homestand.

"He played well ... he's probably been the best goalie in the league this year," said Islanders center John Tavares. "You can see he's playing with a lot of confidence. He's challenging a lot of shots.

"We had a few chances but we just didn't bear down enough."

Anderson was particularly strong in the second period, kicking aside all 17 shots he faced as Colin Greening and Andre Benoit scored 156 seconds apart to give Ottawa the lead.

After Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic broke Anderson's shutout bid with a point blast early in the third, the Senators hung firm, finally getting a goal from rookie David Dziurzynski from a goal mouth scramble with 2:35 left on the clock to seal the two points.

For both Dziurzynski and Benoit, it was the first career NHL goals. Greening muscled his way through a logjam in front of DiPietro to get his second of the season.

"It's an outstanding feeling," Dziurzynski, an undrafted winger who was recalled from the AHL affiliate in Binghamton last week, said of his goal. "Since I was a little kid I've always wanted to play in the NHL, and I'm just very happy I got here and I got to (score) early, when I've only played three games."

The Senators long injury list includes Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson, both of whom are out for at least two more months, possibly the rest of the season.

In their absence, coach Paul MacLean is asking his players to maintain a strong work ethic and make sure they do things the right way. Ironically enough, he didn't see enough of what he wants to see from them while picking up the two points.

"We found a way to win the game tonight," said MacLean. "Our goaltender was a big part of it. We found a way to get three pucks in the net and that's great too, the way we did it.

"This was one of the poorer games we've played, in the last four or five games, but we got something out of the game, and that's a great testament to our goaltender and our ability to stick to it."

The Islanders took only a little solace in the fact they had a much better effort than was evident in a 7-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers Monday.

"We did keep it tight," said DiPietro, who faced 26 shots. "It's not a win, so we're disappointed. In a shortened season, you need points, you need results. It was encouraging to see the guys play hard. They played well. We were moving our feet in the offensive zone and creating chances. Definitely some positives to take out of here."

The Islanders go on to play in Montreal Thursday at the same time the Senators are hosting the New York Rangers.

NOTES: Greening's goal ended a personal 10-game slump and was stopped a skid for the Senators power play, which had gone 0 for 24 before that. .... Benoit's first career goal came in his 21st NHL game. ... Heading into Tuesday, Tavares was the only player among the NHL's Top 10 scorers with a minus-rating in the plus-minus department. He was minus-6. ... No team in the NHL has a younger or less experienced group of centers than those starting in the middle for the Senators Tuesday -- Kyle Turris, Zack Smith, Stephane Da Costa and Derek Grant. ... The Senators entered the night with the second best penalty killing numbers in the league. Their 90.2 percent success rate was bettered only by Boston's 94.1 percent. ... DiPietro made his first start against Ottawa since Jan. 29, 2008. ... The Senators all-time record against the Islanders is now 46-16-11-3.
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