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Senators win third straight game

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA -- Good things happened in threes for the Senators Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

They equaled a season high with their third straight victory, snapping the Winnipeg Jets' run of wins at three in the process.

The Senators' 4-3 victory in front of 18,691 fans included some fortuitous bounces, as Winnipeg hit three posts, one in each period.

"You make your own luck," said Senators coach Paul MacLean. "If you work hard enough and you play hard enough, things can go your way. Obviously we're playing harder, and that's what makes puck luck."

Scoring for the Senators were centers Mika Zibanejad and Zack Smith, as well as wingers Milan Michalek and Clarke MacArthur.

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, winger Evander Kane and center Olli Jokinen scored for the Jets.

Jokinen was not about to use bad breaks as an excuse.

"At the end of the day we were able to score three goals," he said. "A lot of times when we've been able to score three, we've been finding a way to win the games. It wasn't lack of getting chances, it was more a matter of giving up too many against a skilled team like Ottawa.

"They make you pay."

Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 32 saves to pick up his fourth win in a row. Jets goalie Al Montoya made 25 saves as his winning streak was stopped at three games.

"I thought it was a weird game, but we were in it all the way," said Montoya. "A couple of tough bounces here and there ... we just weren't able to pull this one off and it was there for the taking."

After Zibanejad and Byfuglien traded goals in the second half of the opening period on a good hop and a deflected shot, respectively, Michalek put Ottawa in front by cashing in a rebound 47 seconds from the intermission.

Kane tied the score at 1:32 of the second when he put one in off Anderson's back from behind the net.

Smith gave Ottawa the lead again 6:42 into the third, deflecting a Marc Methot wrist shot from the point. MacArthur provided some padding after a defensive zone breakdown by the Jets, taking a feed from center Kyle Turris and putting a nice move on Montoya for his 13th of the season.

"That fourth one is a backbreaker," said Montoya. "It can't happen. We've got to be better."

Jokinen kept the Jets alive with 5:29 left in regulation, but they were unable to tie the game one more time.

The win improved the Senators record to 18-18-7 while moving them to within three points of the Detroit Red Wings in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Jets, who are six back of a playoff spot in the West, fell to 19-19-5.

"It was nice to get rewarded at the end," said MacArthur. "That's just an important two points for us there.

"We've got something rolling here now with three in a row. They aren't all going to be pretty, but at this time of year, and where the standings are, we'll take anything we can get."

The Senators play their next four games on the road, starting Saturday in Montreal, while the Jets visit Boston on Saturday.

NOTES: Senators C Jason Spezza practiced with the team Thursday morning and may return to the lineup Saturday in Montreal. The Ottawa captain has missed the last three games with a hip flexor injury. ... Jets D Dustin Byfuglien, who led all NHL defenseman in shots with 140 heading into the game, scored his eighth goal of the season in the first period. ... Jets W Evander Kane's second-period goal was his fifth in nine games since returning from injury. ... Senators D Patrick Wiercioch, who was coming off what coach Paul MacLean called two good games in a row, was a healthy scratch for the fifth time in the last seven. Joining him was D Eric Gryba, who has now been a healthy scratch 23 times this season. ... The Jets' scratches were D Adam Pardy and W Eric O'Dell, an Ottawa native.
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