Spezza scored on a sensational individual effort 2:48 into overtime to lift Ottawa to a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
“I’m the opposing coach, but I’ll tell you what, that was a great goal,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said.
The Senators center took the puck down the ice and cut across, slipping the puck through defenseman Sheldon Souray’s legs before deking goalie Jose Theodore and beating him with a backhand for his fifth goal.
“That was fun to watch,” said Ottawa forward Antoine Vermette, who scored early in the third to tie it at 3. “I guess that was a great game for the fans. That was a sick move he made there. I’ve seen that a couple of times but it’s pretty nice to see in a game.”
The Senators, 4-0 at home this season, moved to within one point of first-place Montreal in the Northeast Division at 7-1-0.
“We want to win games, especially at home,” Spezza said. “We don’t want to give away points against divisional teams. They’re a great team and they’re going to be biting at everyone’s heels all through the year.”
Theodore stopped 38 shots, including an unorthodox lunging save on Chris Neil with 2:04 left in regulation to allow the Canadiens to earn a point after Senators forward Antoine Vermette scored 3:39 into the third to tie it at 3.
“That was an open net and I just dove and he hit me right in the middle of the face,” Theodore said. “I think we were lucky on that play but it’s a big point for us.”
Montreal ended a three-game winning streak, losing for just the third time this season. The Canadiens fell to 4-0-1 on the road, where they have earned nine of 10 points.
Breaking down the ice on a 2-on-1 with Ribeiro, Ryder elected to shoot on goalie Ray Emery, making his second start of the season.
The puck struck the end boards and bounced back toward the net, where Ryder swatted it out of the air and into the net from a sharp angle to put the Canadiens ahead 13:21 in.
After failing to score on the man advantage in the first, when each team was assessed just one minor penalty apiece, the teams combined for four power-play goals in the second as referees Kevin Pollock and Craig Spada called nine minors in the period. Ottawa went 2-for-6 with the man advantage in the second while Montreal scored twice in three opportunities.
Ottawa took the lead on power-play goals by Zdeno Chara and Heatley early in the second.
With four seconds remaining in the second of consecutive penalties called against Montreal—including 39 seconds at 5-on-3, Chara tied it at 1 at 3:28 with a slap shot past Theodore from the top of the right circle. Heatley put the Senators up at 6:56 as he completed a pretty passing play with Daniel Alfredsson and Spezza.
“In the first period, there wasn’t that much happening in the penalty box, and then all of a sudden the game got physical,” Chara said. “You could feel a bit more clutching and grabbing.”
Ribeiro, who scored twice—including the overtime winner—in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Philadelphia, was credited with his fifth of the season as the Canadiens tied it at 2 at 8:40.
Ryder set up Ribeiro’s go-ahead goal at 14:24 with a pass from behind the net.
Zednik, who assisted on Ribeiro’s second goal, returned to the lineup after missing eight games since injuring his groin in a season-opening win at Boston on Oct. 5.
Ribeiro has five goals and two assists in five games. … Theodore, who had won three straight, fell to 6-2-1. Canadiens backup G Yann Denis beat Atlanta 2-0 in his NHL debut on Oct. 12. … Senators C Mike Fisher returned to the lineup after missing four games with a left shoulder strain. … Both teams were assessed minor penalties for too many men in the second period.