Ales Hemsky put on a chemistry lesson Saturday afternoon. And, Craig Anderson saved the day. Picked up from the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline, the Czech winger paid immediate dividends with three assists in the club’s 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. The victory - which included Mike Hoffman’s first - NHL goal allowed the Senators to close out this four-game Western road swing with a .500 record and stay in the hunt for a playoff spot in the East. Captain Jason Spezza had three assists while Milan Michalek and Hoffman had two points each. Jared Cowen, Eric Gryba and Kyle Turris also scored as Ottawa moved its record to 4-0 in Winnipeg. There’s still a tough road ahead for the Senators to make the playoffs, however, this result was better than the alternative as Anderson made 46 stops to move his record to 11-2-0 vs. the Jets. Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom and Bryan Little scored for the Jets as Anderson came up big in the third with Winnipeg pressing hard to get back into it. Byfuglien made it interesting in third when he fired a bullet by Anderson that hit the crossbar and went down into the net at 2:13 to cut the Senaors lead to 5-3 with lots of time left to to play. The Senators put this one away in the second by taking the play to the Jets. The club pulled out to a 5-2 lead and chased Ondrej Pavelec after he allowed five goals on 20 shots. Hoffman’s goal came on a perfect feed from Spezza on the power play and all he had to do was deposit it home. Called up from Binghamton, he had his first goal and assist in the same period. That goal came at 9:35. Hoffman, falling to the ice, made a beautiful feed to Turris for his 21st of the season at 8:56 to restore to give the Senators a 4-2 lead and send them on the road to victory. The lack of discipline really is mystifying and costly. After pulling out to a 3-1 lead, the Jets scored their second power play goal of the afternoon when Enstrom fired it home from the point at 4:15. That came only moments after Gryba scored his second of the season into what was an empty net. Mark Stuart took Pavelec out sliding to try to stop a pass to Jason Spezza. With the net wide open, all Gryba had to do was fire it home for his first goal since Oct. 23rd at 2:01 of the second. It was the second goal the Senators had received from an unlikely source. The Senators pulled out to a 2-1 lead after the first. They weren’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but they did enough to get the job done and played with the kind of desperation missing from their game. A healthy scratch in the first three stops on this trip, Cowen ended a 38-game goalless drought with his first since Nov. 15 when his shot from the point beat a screened Pavelec at 17:37. The Ottawa goal came only 38 seconds after the Jets had tied it up 1-1. On the power play, Little was left all alone in front to backhand it over top of a sprawled Anderson’s stick.
Ottawa Senators power out a 5-3 victory over Winnipeg Jets
Ottawa Sun | Mar 9