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Spezza hits milestone as Senators defeat New York Islanders 5-2

The Canadian Press
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Ottawa Senators\' Chris Phillips takes out New York Islanders\' Sean Bergenheim as Ottawa\'s Andrej Meszaros looks on during the second period in Ottawa Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tom Hanson Author: The Hockey News

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Spezza hits milestone as Senators defeat New York Islanders 5-2

The Canadian Press
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OTTAWA - Jason Spezza got another milestone over with, and the Ottawa Senators got another win.

Spezza recorded the 300th point of his career in picking up a goal and an assist in Ottawa's 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday. "It's obviously nice to get and anytime you're near a milestone you just want to get and get it out of the way and grab the puck," Spezza said. "My old man's in town so I can give it to him and that's the end of it."

Daniel Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette, Nick Foligno and Mike Fisher also scored for the Senators (25-8-4), winners of three straight. Dany Heatley and Chris Phillips chipped in with two assists each.

"I thought we did a good job and controlled the play most of the night. We had the puck a lot, crashed the net and that's why we won," Spezza said.

Spezza has recorded a point in nine straight games. He's five goals short of 100 for his career.

Martin Gerber made his second straight start in goal for the Senators and had 25 saves for his 19th win of the season, tying him with Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks for the league lead.

Bill Guerin broke Gerber's shutout bid at 8:13 of the third period, cutting the Senators lead to 3-1, but Foligno and Fisher scored 45 seconds apart midway through the period to give the Sens a 5-1 lead.

"With a couple of exceptions we played really well in the first and from there on I thought we controlled the game," said Gerber.

Guerin scored again late for the Islanders (18-16-2) while Wade Dubielewicz started in place of the injured Rick DiPietro, who injured his knee in warm-ups Wednesday night before the Islanders faced the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Senators had the first nine shots of the opening period but the Islanders responded with seven of the next 10. Both Dubielewicz and Gerber both had moments to shine and keep the period scoreless. The Senators outshot the Islanders 37-27 overall.

The Senators scored three times in the second period to take control of the game. Spezza scored 1:02 into the period while the Senators skated five-on-three. He parked himself at the side of the goal and converted a cross-crease pass from Heatley for a 1-0 lead.

Alfredsson increased that lead to 2-0 less than two minutes later when he beat Dubielewicz with a hard shot from the top of the faceoff circle.

With just seven seconds left in the period, Vermette scored a short-handed goal to give the Senators a 3-0 lead. After Chris Kelly hit the crossbar on a breakaway, Vermette pulled the puck out of the air at the side of the net, dropped it to his feet and quickly beat Dubielewicz on the short side.

"I thought we played well in the first period then we get into penalty trouble and they come out and get a power-play goal," said Islanders coach Ted Nolan.

"Then we give up the short-handed goal and that's tough at the end of a period like that. It's very much of a concern (giving up short-handed goals) and if we're not first in the league we're very close. We keep doing the same thing over and over again. If the power play is scoring goals that's one thing, but this is unacceptable."

The Islanders have given up a league-leading eight short-handed goals.

Notes: The Islanders haven't scored a power-play goal in their past five games, which includes 15 opportunities. . . . With 85 goals, the Islanders are the lowest scoring team in the NHL this season. . . . Ottawa is 34-6-9-1 against the Islanders since the start of the 1994-95 season. . . . Cody Bass collected his first NHL point with his third-period assist.

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Spezza hits milestone as Senators defeat New York Islanders 5-2