Predators beat Senators on Jones' OT goal
OTTAWA -- Struggling to produce offense lately, the Nashville Predators finally broke through with a second-period outburst against the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.
Their defense let up in the third, but the Predators managed to come up with one more goal when they needed it most when Seth Jones scored at 3:49 of overtime for a 4-3 win against Ottawa at Canadian Tire Centre.
Jones beat Senators goalie Robin Lehner on a rebound of Ryan Ellis' shot and the Predators recovered to end a four-game losing streak after blowing a 3-0 lead in the third period.
"I was just kind of backing it up," Jones said. "Ellis is great at shootouts, so I kind of knew he was going to do that move actually and he set himself up for it and it was just kind of laying there, so I just kind of tapped it in."
The Predators were held to three goals over the course of their losing streak.
"We've been on a pretty dry spell lately and we've hit a ton of posts and we hit a few more tonight, but it was really nice to get on the board," Jones said.
Jason Spezza tied it at 3-3 with 1:07 remaining in regulation. The Ottawa captain went to the corner and pounded the glass with his fist after scoring his 17th goal for his second straight three-point game.
"We knew we had to make a push in the third and it showed a lot of character for us to get a point," Spezza said.
Senators newcomer Ales Hemsky had three assists for a second game in a row playing on a line with Spezza and Milan Michalek.
Hemsky, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, has eight points in his past four games, including two goals against the Senators in his last game with Edmonton, a 3-2 win for the Oilers last Tuesday.
"It's been fun," Hemsky said. "Jason is a great player. He's always been a great player with the puck and he can find you everywhere. And Milan is a strong player. He drives the net and he gives you a lot of space in the offensive zone, so so far it clicks pretty well."
Spezza and Hemsky each assisted on goals by defensemen Jared Cowen and Marc Methot and the Senators closed to within 3-2 after Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was injured and left the game at 4:50 of the third.
"We usually do a better job locking those down," Predators coach Barry Trotz said.
Pekka Rinne made 34 saves for his first win in four starts since returning from an infection in his surgically-repaired hip that had sidelined him for most of the season.
Nashville scored three times in the second before blowing its 3-0 lead in the third period.
"They just got a lot of momentum after that first goal and got it going, especially that one line," Rinne said. "Any time they were on the ice they seemed to get some chances, and a few lucky bounces tonight too, but it was good to get that. We had a four-game losing streak before this game and it's mentally tough. It was a big win, but there's no denying that going into the third with a three-goal lead you have to be able to maintain it and come out with a regulation time win."
Nick Spaling put the Predators up 1-0 with his 12th goal at 8:20 of the second when he tipped Michael Del Zotto's point shot past Anderson. Craig Smith made it 2-0 with his 19th goal exactly midway through the second and Eric Nystrom increased the lead to three with an unassisted goal at 17:32.
Anderson, who stopped 26 of 29 shots, was replaced by Lehner, who stopped 12 of 13 shots.
Ottawa is 2-4-1 in its past seven games. The Senators (28-25-12) remain in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with 68 points.
Ottawa defenseman Cody Ceci left the game and did not return after he was struck in the head by Predators defenseman Shea Weber's slap shot midway through the first period.
Ceci fell to the ice in front of Anderson after he was hit on the side of the head by Weber's drive from inside the blue line at 10:21 of the first period. The 20-year-old rookie was bleeding from the right side of his head and was helped off the ice to the dressing room.
"Cody has a deep cut so we held him out for precautions," Senators coach Paul MacLean said.
Ceci sent out a Tweet after the game: "Thanks for all your concerns just a cut and a little shaken up should be back at it soon enough."
Weber put a slap shot off Anderson's mask at 7:15 of the first that knocked the Senators goalie down. Ottawa medical personnel tended to Anderson on the ice, but the goalie remained in the game.
After Spaling opened the scoring in the second, Smith scored off a faceoff win to give Nashville a 2-0 lead at 10:00. Colin Wilson won a draw and moved the puck back to the left boards to Jones, who passed to his partner, Mattias Ekholm. Smith turned around off the faceoff and deflected Ekholm's one-timer past Anderson.
Nystrom took advantage of a turnover by Methot for Nashville's third goal. Methot's backhand clearing attempt on a Predators dump-in to the slot went right to Nystrom, who roofed a shot past Anderson for his 12th goal.
Anderson left the game in the third and skated off to the dressing room after Michalek collided with him on a Nashville scoring chance.
"I was backchecking there and unfortunately I hit him, I hit him pretty hard, so I hope he's going to be fine," Michalek said.
Cowen drew Ottawa to within 3-1 at 7:55 when he scored for a second game in a row after a three-game run as a healthy scratch. Methot's sixth goal at 10:34 cut Nashville's lead to one.
Senators left wing Clarke MacArthur missed his second game in a row because of a right-hand injury.