Bell scored Ottawa’s third power-play goal of the game with 1:22 remaining to lift the Senators to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Ottawa (16-21-7) moved past Tampa Bay into 12th place overall in the Eastern Conference with 39 points. The Senators, who have made the playoffs in each of the last 11 seasons, trail eighth-place Pittsburgh by 11 points.
“We wanted to end on a good note and it was a big goal by Brendan in the third period,” said Heatley, who scored a pair of power-play goals in the first. “We get a few days off and get back at it, and try to make a run here.”
A healthy scratch for each of Ottawa’s three previous games, Bell put a shot from the right side past Jose Theodore 18:38 into the third with five seconds remaining in a penalty to Washington’s Alexander Semin.
“In my role, I got a chance on the power play and not a lot of guys get that opportunity, so you make the most of it,” Bell said.
Brian Elliott started his fifth in a row for Ottawa, which has seven points in four games (3-0-1), including a 5-4 shootout loss to Montreal on Saturday.
Sergei Fedorov and David Steckel scored in the second to help the Capitals erase a two-goal deficit and tie it at 2 midway through the middle period.
Semin was called for tripping with 3:17 remaining after he upended Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson while he was carrying the puck through the neutral zone.
“It’s a question of stupid, dumb, selfish—it’s just not winning hockey,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The bottom line is with three minutes to go you don’t go cross-ice pass in the zone, you get it at the net.
“When you’re on the road you play for the tie and then you win it in overtime. That’s what we did last night and that’s what you have to do today. I mean, that’s what winning is all about and you’ve got to learn how to win. Right now, there are some guys that know how to play, they just don’t know how to win.”
Washington ended a three-game winning streak following a 2-1 road win in overtime over the New York Islanders. The Capitals had won 16 of their previous 21.
Theodore made 31 saves in his fifth straight start.
“They outplayed us in the first and in the third, and they got a late power play, and they had a good power play tonight,” said Theodore, who was 9-2-0 in his previous 11 starts.
Ottawa’s Peter Regin made his NHL debut. A 22-year-old chosen in the third round of the 2004 draft, Regin was called up from Binghamton of the AHL earlier in the day and became the fifth Danish-born player in league history, centering a line with Mike Fisher and Nick Foligno.
“They helped me out a lot and talked to me a lot, so I was happy to get the chance to play with them,” Regin said.
Fedorov scored his fifth goal of the season 37 seconds into the second, moments after a lengthy video review determined that an earlier shot by Fedorov had not entered the net.
The Russian veteran left no doubt on his next shot as he one-timed pass from Semin and drove a slap shot from the slot between Brian Elliott’s pads to draw Washington within 2-1.
Steckel tied it at 2 with his sixth goal at 9:58.
Recently moved to the Senators’ second power-play unit, Heatley opened the scoring with his 20th goal 8:11 in.
The two-time 50-goal scorer made it a two-goal lead at 15:54 with his second goal of the period, his team-leading 21st.
“I thought our group was shooting the puck a lot and getting pucks to the net,” Heatley said. “I thought (Foligno) and (Antoine Vermette) did a great job of getting in front of the goalie and retrieving pucks, and we got some good bounces.”
On the night of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, the Capitals played their second road game in Ottawa this season. They also played the Senators in a 2-1 overtime loss at Scotiabank Place on Nov. 4, the night of the Presidential election. … Washington C Michael Nylander was a healthy scratch for the third time this season. … Senators RW Chris Neil was sick with the flu and out of the lineup.