Ottawa at Dallas

Improved defense, first-period strikes give Senators lift over Stars


DALLAS -- Scoring goals hasn't been the problem for the Ottawa Senators. They haven't been able to keep the puck out of their own net.

They turned in a much better defensive job Friday night.

Christoph Schubert and Antoine Vermette scored first-period goals, and the Senators used an improved defensive showing for a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Mike Fisher added a power-play goal in the third period and Ray Emery stopped 23 shots for the Senators, who had allowed four or more goals in seven of their previous eight games.

"We were strong in the trenches and battled hard," Ottawa coach John Paddock said. "This was the most urgent game we've played in a while."

Ottawa won its second straight to improve to a Northeast Division-best 39 points, tops in the Eastern Conference. But the Senators had been slumping with a 1-4-3 record in their previous eight games.

"We kind of got in a lull," Fisher said. "Guys weren't playing as well as we knew we could, myself included. It takes time to get on track. I think we're getting our confidence back."

Mike Ribeiro scored his 12th goal of the season for Dallas with 1:49 left to make it 3-2, but the Stars were unable to tie it after pulling goalie Mike Smith for an extra attacker with 90 seconds remaining.

Chris Kelly's empty-netter with 27 seconds left sealed the win for the Senators.

Stars coach Dave Tippett was upset about some officiating decisions that didn't go his team's way, including what he thought should have been a high-sticking call on Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson against Dallas' Jussi Jokinen with about 40 seconds left.

"We couldn't get a break in everything from calls to bounces around the net," said Tippett, who said Aldredsson's raised stick against Jokinen in the final minute was "blatant."

"We were on our heels most of the night and we couldn't seem to get any momentum," Tippett added.

Niklas Hagman registered his 11th goal on a power play, Brenden Morrow had two assists, and Smith made 17 saves for the Stars, 8-4 in their last 12 games.

Schubert scored a flukey goal at 5:18 of the first period -- his fourth -- when his flip toward the net from 50 feet got past Smith, who was screened.

"There were two or three big guys in front of me, but I should have found it," Smith said.

Dallas capitalized on a 5-on-3 to tie it at 1 when Hagman fired home a rebound at 7:32 of the opening period.

The Stars had failed to score a power-play goal in five of their previous six games.

Vermette's outstanding individual effort gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead at 16:29 of the first period when he broke in alone past Dallas defensemen Stephane Robidas and Matt Niskanen and fired his fifth of the season through Smith's pads.

"That works every once in a while," Vermette said. "It was more lucky, I guess."

Fisher added his seventh of the season from the left circle to stretch Ottawa's advantage to 3-1 only 22 seconds after Dallas' Stu Barnes received a double-minor for high-sticking.


  • The teams hadn't met since Dec. 15, 2005, and hadn't played in Dallas since Jan. 28, 2004.
  • Hagman received a five-minute roughing penalty and a game misconduct with 3:38 left in the second period after he checked Schubert hard into the glass. Schubert seemed woozy and was down for a few minutes before skating slowly to the bench, but was back on the ice during the ensuing power play.
  • Out for the Stars were RW Antti Miettinen (groin) and LW Loui Eriksson (shoulder).
  • RW Patrick Eaves (shoulder) and D Anton Volchenko (hand) were out for the Senators.
  • The Senators held a 6-1 shots edge in a scoreless second period.
  • Ottawa C Jason Spezza had a nine-game points streak snapped.
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Andrej Meszaros and the Senators defense help Ray Emery give up just two goals in his 23-save day.  (AP)
Andrej Meszaros and the Senators defense help Ray Emery give up just two goals in his 23-save day. (AP)
Ottawa  (18-7-3) «2024
Dallas (15-11-4)1012
Three Stars
A. Vermette

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
R. Emery

Saves: 23
Save Pct.: .920
M. Modano

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
05:18Christoph Schubert (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Dean McAmmond, Antoine Vermette
07:32Power Play - Niklas Hagman (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov
16:29Antoine Vermette (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Chris Neil, Chris Kelly
06:29Power Play - Mike Fisher (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Wade Redden, Daniel Alfredsson
18:11Mike Ribeiro (12), Slap Shot. Assist: Chris Conner, Brenden Morrow
19:30Chris Kelly (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Dany Heatley
Penalty Summary
05:20Neil, 4 min, Roughing
07:12Redden, 2 min, Hooking
10:03Spezza, 2 min, Slashing
18:53Modano, 2 min, Slashing
06:26Lessard, 2 min, Interference
14:02Hagman, 2 min, Tripping
14:02Alfredsson, 2 min, Diving/Embellishment
15:12Meszaros, 2 min, Cross-Checking
16:22Hagman, 5 min, Boarding
16:22Hagman, 10 min, Game Misconduct
06:07Barnes, 4 min, High-Sticking
12:42Neil, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
Ray Emery60:00232
Mike Smith58:09163
Game Information
Attendance - 18016
Referees - Brad Meier, Don Van Massenhoven
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Ryan Galloway
Other Games
NYR 2 Final
Atl 4
Phi 1 Final
Colo 2
NYI 0 Final
Fla 3
Ana 5 Final
Chi 3
SJ 1 Final
Pho 0
StL 4 Final
Edm 3
Min 0 Final
Det 5
Wash 2 Final
NJ 3