Final

Series (Game 2 of 4)

Ottawa leads 3-1

Game 1: Sunday, November 23rd
Senators2Final
Rangers6
Game 2: Saturday, December 20th
Rangers1Final
Senators3
Game 3: Saturday, January 24th
Rangers1Final
Senators9
Game 4: Monday, February 16th
Senators4Final
Rangers1

Rangers 1

(12-13-2, 31 pts)

Senators 3

(15-10-3, 36 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 20, 2003

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
NYR 1 0 01
OTT 1 2 03

P. Lalime (Senators - G): Saves: 24, Save Pct.: .960

Z. Chara (Senators - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

B. Holik (Rangers - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Ottawa survives giving up first goal -- again

OTTAWA (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators seized an opportunity for payback after once again digging themselves a hole.

Curtis Leschyshyn, Peter Schaefer and Jason Spezza scored to lead Ottawa to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

Patrick Lalime made 24 saves for the Senators, who scored three straight goals after falling behind 1-0 for the 19th time in 31 games.

"It's an area we'd certainly like to get better in, but the fact that we responded and got some momentum afterwards and continued to play well is a nice sign," Leschyshyn said.

Ottawa, 7-7-2-3 when it has allowed the first goal of the game, avenged its most lopsided defeat of the season, a 6-2 loss in New York on Nov. 23.

"We got pretty embarrassed when we played there -- we didn't have a good game and they were all over us, so it was important to have a good strong game tonight and get a win," defenseman Zdeno Chara said.

Ottawa, which beat Chicago 6-1 on Thursday, improved to 3-1 on its season-high, five-game homestand.

"We owed them one," Lalime said of the Rangers. "We had that in the back of our mind and everybody showed up for it."

Darius Kasparaitis scored for New York, which has lost six of nine.

"Lalime made some great saves and we just didn't score," Rangers center Bobby Holik said. "There are things we could have done better, but that's hockey."

Kasparaitis ended a 52-game goal drought 8:01 in. Mark Messier won a draw in the Ottawa zone back to Kasparaitis, whose slap shot from the point beat Lalime through the legs for his first goal since Feb. 15.

Leschyshyn tied it with his first of the season at 14:41 as he converted a setup by Martin Havlat.

"Marty made a great pass and I just shot it at the net," Leschyshyn said. "I was hoping for the best and fortunately it did go in."

Ottawa took a 2-1 lead 1:26 into the second when Schaefer redirected defenseman Karel Rachunek's shot past goalie Mike Dunham for his eighth goal.

Spezza increased the Senators' lead to two at 9:22 as he lobbied for a goal that referee Stephen Walkom had already awarded.

"The ref didn't blow the whistle right away or signal for a goal so I thought I'd help him out a little bit and make sure he called it a goal," Spezza said.

Spezza immediately pointed toward the goal line as he began his goal celebration. He scored by reaching around Dunham in the crease and sweeping the puck just over the goal line before Rangers defenseman Tom Poti cleared the puck away.

"I didn't really get there quick enough, I guess," Poti said. "It must have crossed the line, but it looked pretty close from where I was."

Chara abruptly threw New York's Matthew Barnaby to the ice before he could be goaded into a fight 58 seconds in.

"Barnaby just tried to turn the game around out there, that early," Rangers coach Glen Sather said. "You've got to give him credit for that."

After they served penalties for unsporstmanlike conduct, Barnaby immediately threw his gloves to the ice upon his return to the ice and fought a losing battle as the Senators' defenseman used a decided reach advantage to jab him at will with his left hand while holding Barnaby's sweater.

"It's my job," Barnaby said. "He's a tough guy and he got the better of me tonight. That's it."

Game notes


Dunham has won just two of his last 11 decisions (2-7-2). ... Rangers D Boris Mironov returned after serving a two-game suspension. ... The Senators haven't allowed a power-play goal in six games. Ottawa's penalty killers successfully shut down the Rangers' two power-play opportunities. ... Leschyshyn went 18 games since scoring his last goal against Boston on March 11. ... The Senators are 8-3-1 when they've scored first.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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