OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators were done in by a couple of former teammates.
Marian Hossa scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and Ray Emery made 25 saves as the Blackhawks defeated the Senators, 2-1, on Friday night.
Hossa spent seven seasons with the Senators and Emery was making his first appearance in Ottawa since having his contract bought out in 2008.
“It’s always special to come to this building, this city where I still have lots of friends and know lots of people,” Hossa said. “I have lots of great memories and this is another one now.”
Before the game, Emery talked about his desire to win the game.
“It feels great,” Emery said after the victory. “We’re in a battle and we know they are, too. We needed that one, especially our last few games on the road we’ve had a tough time and to come out and outplay them like we did in the first two and then really hunker down defensively in the third.
“It’s a good game and I think we played the right way to win it, too, so that’s important.”
The Blackhawks have had their share of struggles on the road, losing 13 of 15 before Friday’s victory.
“This was huge, especially that it was on the road,” Hossa said. “We weren’t good lately on the road, so we need some wins on the road. So, this is good for the first game of a road trip.”
Bryan Bickell also scored for the Blackhawks.
Milan Michalek scored the lone goal for the Senators, while Robin Lehner, making his third straight start for injured goalie Craig Anderson, looked solid stopping 37 shots.
“They were flying from the start,” Lehner said. “It’s too bad we came up short. I think we came back real good in the third and had some good chances. We have to move forward.”
The third period featured end-to-end action as both Lehner and Emery, playing his 200th NHL career game, needed to make some big saves.
“(Robin) kept us in the game and gave us a chance to come back,” Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “We came close a couple of times. He did everything he could, obviously, and played a great game and made some really spectacular saves and we just couldn’t come up with that extra goal for him.”
The Blackhawks took control right from the start of the second, as Patrick Sharp was robbed first on a breakaway and then again on a penalty shot.
On a delayed penalty call, Bickell roofed a rebound over Lehner to tie the game. Just over five minutes later, Hossa’s wraparound, his 27th, eluded a sprawled Lehner.
“I thought we got caught in between,” Alfredsson said. “They did a good job of stretching the rink the first 40 minutes and I don’t think until the third that we took command of the puck a little bit more and created more chances, but overall they were the better team.”
Despite being outplayed for much of the period the Senators got out of the first period leading 1-0. Michalek picked up his 29th of the season scoring off a great no-look pass from Jason Spezza, who extended his point streak to 11 games.
Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, playing in his 200th career game, saw his eight-game point streak come to an end.