The New York Islanders were primed to claim their first win in Ottawa in nearly five years.
Marc-Andre Bergeron got his second power-play goal of the game early in the third and Mike Comrie scored later in the period, leading the Islanders to a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night. Rick DiPietro made 31 saves for New York, which won its second in a row to finish 2-1-2 on its five-game road trip, the team’s longest of the season. The Islanders hadn’t beaten the Senators in Ottawa since March 15, 2003.
“It’s a big win,” DiPietro said. “It makes an average road trip a pretty good one. That was the big thing we wanted to do. We managed to win that last one and having dropped a couple of points in the first three games, it was nice to finish up the road trip with a win.”
Daniel Alfredsson scored a power-play goal in the second for Ottawa, which ended a four-game winning streak that included a 3-2 victory over NHL-leading Detroit on Saturday.
“That’s one thing we’ve learned from experience, any time a team has the emotional game the night before sometimes you catch them out a little bit,” Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. “The one thing we wanted to do was make sure we came out and skate and maybe we’ll take advantage of that. Tonight we certainly did.”
Senators centre Jason Spezza left the game following the first period after he was flattened by an open-ice hit by Islanders defenceman Freddy Meyer early in the game.
“Freddy got a clean hit, and any time a player makes a big hit like that, especially one of their skill guys, it definitely charges your bench up a little bit,” DiPietro said.
The Senators lost all-star right wing Dany Heatley, Spezza’s linemate, for up to six weeks on Saturday when he dislocated his right shoulder during an awkward fall into the boards while he was trying to check Red Wings forward Dallas Drake.
Islanders forward Ruslan Fedotenko fell to the ice after he was hit in the head by Senators centre Mike Fisher’s arm in the Ottawa zone 10:50 into the third. Fedotenko went to the dressing room and didn’t return.
“I saw him coming across and he was with Alfredsson and I guess he had his head down,” Fisher said. “I thought I hit him clean and that’s what I saw on the videos, so I hope he’s OK.”
Ottawa was 9-0-1 in its previous 10 games against the Islanders, outscoring them 43-17.
Elsewhere in the NHL, it was: Flyers 6 Capitals 4, Avalanche 4 Panthers 3, Wild 4 Coyotes 1, Canucks 4 Blues 3, Oilers 2 Flames 1, Ducks 4 Sharks 3 and Blackhawks 3 Predators 2.
At Ottawa, Senators goalie Martin Gerber stopped 28 shots, including a sensational save earlier in the play that led to Bergeron’s second goal when he lunged to his right to deny Comrie’s shot at an open net.
After the Islanders regained the lead at 2-1 following Bergeron’s second goal 4:36 into the third, Comrie beat his former teammate for an unassisted goal at 6:16.
Comrie, who played 41 games with Ottawa last season and was part of the Senators’ run to the Stanley Cup finals, burst down the right side and put a shot in off Gerber’s right arm to give New York a two-goal lead.
Spezza had just received a pass from defenceman Wade Redden when he was checked by Meyer 3:47 in.
“I put him in a bad spot,” Redden said.
The high-scoring centre got up and skated slowly and directly to the bench, where he sat and spoke with trainer Gerry Townend.
He returned moments later without missing a shift and finished the first period, but didn’t come out for the second.
A team spokesman said Spezza was held out for “precautionary measures,” though there was no indication of the nature of his injury.
Senators coach John Paddock said the hit was clean.
“Jason wasn’t expecting the puck,” said Paddock, who hadn’t spoken to the team’s medical staff after the first period. “It was a terrible pass.”
Alfredsson took a bad penalty late in the first when he cross-checked Meyer from behind in front of the Islanders net.
It proved costly as Bergeron scored on the ensuing power play to give New York a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Alfredsson tied it at 1 with his third power-play goal in two nights 16:07 into the second.
Flyers 6 Capitals 4
At Washington, Mike Knuble had his first two-goal game of the season, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Capitals for their seventh win in nine games.
Avalanche 4 Panthers 3
At Sunrise, Fla., Milan Hejduk scored the winning goal in the shootout, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a victory over the Panthers.
Wild 4 Coyotes 1
At St. Paul, Minn., Josh Harding stopped 26 shots, and the Wild beat the Phoenix Coyotes again.
Canucks 4 Blues 3
At St. Louis, Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for five points, and Alex Edler decided a shootout for the second time in four games in the Vancouver Canucks’ victory over the Blues.
Oilers 2 Flames 1
At Edmonton, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff each had a goal and an assist, and the Oilers stretched their winning streak to a season-high four games by beating the Calgary Flames.
Ducks 4 Sharks 3
At Anaheim, Calif., Doug Weight tied the game with 28 seconds left in regulation, and Francois Beauchemin scored 33 seconds into overtime to give the Ducks a victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Blackhawks 3 Predators 2
At Nashville, Tenn., Patrick Sharp scored a second-period goal and then netted the winner in the shootout, sending the Chicago Blackhawks to a win over the Predators.