Senators beat Wild for 4th straight victory

  • Associated Press
  • Saturday, February 14, 2009 7:58pm
  • SportsSports

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Daniel Alfredsson scored a short-handed goal early in the third period and the Ottawa Senators overcame a three-goal, first-period deficit to win their fourth straight game, 5-3 over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

Brian Lee, Antoine Vermette, Chris Phillips and Dany Heatley also scored for the Senators, 4-1-1 since Cory Clouston took over as coach for the fired Craig Hartsburg.

Alex Auld got the victory, stopping 17 shots in relief of Brian Elliott.

Minnesota’s Owen Nolan had two goals, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard also scored, and James Sheppard had two assists. The Wild have lost two straight.

Alfredsson intercepted a cross-ice pass from Marek Zidlicky, and went in 2-on-1 with Mike Fisher. Alfredsson’s shot from the left circle was stopped by Josh Harding but the rebound popped up in the air, came back down off Harding’s arm and into the net 2:29 into the period. Officials reviewed the play, but the call stood.

Much of the credit for the recent Ottawa success had been its offensive aggressiveness, strong blue-line play and stellar goaltending. Absent for the first half of the game, it returned for the second half.

Up 3-0, Minnesota returned to its traditional defensive shell in the second, allowing the Senators to tie it with three goals in a 6:22 span. Minnesota was booed off the ice after the period.

Lee, from Moorhead, Minn., scored his first goal in 19 games on a wrist shot from the right circle at 12:39 — 7 seconds after a Wild penalty expired.

Vermette one-timed a pass from Chris Kelly into the Wild net 4 minutes later before Phillips and Alfredsson converted a 2-on-1 short-handed opportunity with 58.8 seconds to play in the period. Kelly had two assists.

Niklas Backstrom, who was 4-1 with a 1.39 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in his last five home starts, was pulled after the period and replaced by Harding, who had 39 saves Thursday night in a 4-2 loss at Detroit.

Bouchard put Minnesota up 1-0 just 1:15 in, taking a pass from Nolan, cutting to the slot, and beating Elliott with a wrist shot.

Nolan scored on the power play 8 minutes later, tipping a slap shot by Brent Burns into the Senators’ net. Nolan’s second goal of the period came 4 minutes later when he redirected a pass from Sheppard into a vacant Ottawa net. Elliott had moved to his left to focus on Sheppard, who deked two defenders before passing to Nolan.

Elliott, who allowed three goals in his past two games, was pulled after the third Minnesota goal. He stopped just nine of the 12 shots he faced.

Heatley scored an empty-netter.

Notes: The teams last faced one another on Nov. 20, 2006. …

Ottawa forward Shean Donovan played his 900th NHL game. … Minnesota fell to 11-3-1 against the Eastern Conference this season, the most wins of any team against the other conference. … Nolan’s only other two-goal game this season was Jan. 4 at Colorado — with both goals also scored in the opening frame.

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