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Sens handle Rangers to end six-game losing streak in Redden's return

OTTAWA -- Senators coach Craig Hartsburg stayed positive after a string of difficult losses, imploring his team to stay confident.

The strategy finally paid off Saturday.

Daniel Alfredsson and Jesse Winchester scored late in the second period and Ottawa beat the New York Rangers 4-1 to end a six-game skid.

Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno also scored for the Senators, who got their first win since a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia on Nov. 6. Ottawa had lost each of its last two games in a shootout, including a 2-1 setback against the Rangers on Monday.

"I thought we played really hard and smart," Hartsburg said. "The guys kept their energy high over the week which is important and we said keep playing like this every night and we'll win our fair share. Hopefully this was a sign."

Steve Valiquette made 32 saves and Markus Naslund scored his seventh goal of the season for the Rangers, who have lost nine of their last 11 in Ottawa.

The Senators took control of the game with two goals in a span of 82 seconds late in the second. Winchester beat Valiquette with just over 2 minutes remaining for his second career goal, and Alfredsson made it 3-0 with his fifth of the season at 19:15.

"We stuck with it and played really well," Alfredsson said. "Hopefully this will be the start of a good streak for us."

Wade Redden, returning to Ottawa for the first time since signing with the Rangers in the offseason, helped set up Naslund's wrister early in the final period, but Foligno tipped Jarkko Ruutu's shot past Valiquette to make it 4-1 at 10:48.

"Ruutu's a real effective player," Spezza said. "I think he's underrated for his hockey sense. He drew penalties early on and gave us some momentum."

Redden was greeted with a video tribute at the 6-minute mark of the first period, and the crowd of 19,619 at Scotiabank Place gave the defenseman a standing ovation after the retrospective was finished. Redden spent 11 years in Ottawa before joining New York.

"I didn't know it was coming," Redden said. "It was really nice of them to recognize my time here."

Spezza gave the Senators a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 5 minutes into the game. Dany Heatley broke through the Rangers' defense to set up Spezza with a great pass.

Alex Auld stopped 18 shots for the Senators.

"We felt like we had been playing well enough to win," Auld said. "It's a great feeling to finally get one. It's good for the morale and now we can build on this and keep going."

Game notes
The Rangers failed to register their first shot until the 13-minute mark in the first. ... The Senators unveiled their new third jersey.