Isles’ Nightmare Slide Now At 6 Games
New York Islanders
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OTTAWA (AP) — Jason Spezza is getting into game shape and regaining his scoring touch.
Spezza had a goal and three assists and the Ottawa Senators beat the Islanders 4-1 Thursday night and handed New York its sixth straight loss.
Spezza, held without a point in his first two games back from a groin injury, set up goals by defensemen Sergei Gonchar and David Hale before scoring his second of the season to put Ottawa up by three 6:17 into the second.
He got his third assist when Chris Kelly scored into an empty net with 12.5 seconds remaining. Peter Regin had two assists.
“It’s nice to get on the board a little bit and tonight’s the first night I felt really good skating-wise,” Spezza said. “Usually when I skate well it’s the strength of my game so I felt good tonight.”
Brian Elliott made 28 saves in his ninth straight start for the Senators, who have won five of seven since getting off to a 1-4-1 start.
Matt Moulson spoiled Elliott’s shutout bid with a power-play goal 3:40 into the third. Dwayne Roloson stopped 23 shots for New York, which has been outscored 20-5 in its last four games.
“We didn’t score,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. “I mean, we had two breakaways, we had a couple of point-blank chances in the slot that we didn’t bury on and right now we’re just going through a situation where it seems like every time we do make a mistake it’s in the back of our net and we don’t get the same kind of return on our chances.”
The six-game skid is the Islanders’ longest losing streak since they dropped seven in a row from Jan. 23-Feb. 6.
“It’s tough to be positive now but it was a better effort,” said John Tavares, who assisted on Moulson’s goal. “We’ve got to just turn the page and focus on bouncing back. We can’t be too down on ourselves for too long. We’ve got to find a way to get ourselves out of this hole and move on and get back on track.”
Elliott stopped New York’s Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen on successive shorthanded opportunities after Matt Martin was given a boarding penalty for his hit on Spezza at 12:03 of the third.
“Saving those ones obviously definitely helps out,” Elliott said.
Martin, who also got a roughing minor along with Ottawa’s Chris Campoli, fought Ottawa’s Zack Smith when the puck was dropped following Kelly’s late goal.
Smith was given a boarding major 3:09 in for his hit from behind which sent Trevor Gillies flying headfirst into the boards.
The Islanders got three shots on goal on the ensuing power play, though the Senators struck first on the scoresheet.
Gonchar scored his second goal of the season 12:20 in. Hale made it a 2-0 lead 3:47 into the second with his first goal since Feb. 21, 2009.
The veteran defenseman took Spezza’s pass and put a shot past Roloson for his first goal in 54 games.
“It was nice to contribute in a different way and it felt good,” Hale said.
Regin, who helped set up Gonchar’s goal, got his second assist of the game 2:30 later when Spezza snapped a shot past Roloson to make it 3-0.
Notes: Gordon used his timeout after Spezza’s goal. … Hale has four goals and 21 assists in 309 games with New Jersey, Calgary, Phoenix, Tampa Bay and Ottawa.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)