Senators blank NHL’s top team

Senators blank NHL’s top team
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Until Thursday night, the Ottawa Senators were the only team in the NHL that had not posted a shutout this season.

It took them 45 games, but they finally did it Thursday night, unexpectedly against the top team in the NHL, blanking the Rangers 3-0.

The Senators have now won seven of their last eight games and two in a row on this three-game road trip. The road win was also the team’s 300th in its modern history.

Jason Spezza scored two goals, one on the power play, and Milan Michalek added his 23rd, while Craig Anderson, 7-0-1 in his last eight games, stopped 34 shots.

Erik Karlsson had two assists.

Henrik Lundqvist faced 24 shots.

“They have a good team over there and they came out of the gate pretty hard,” said Anderson.

“I made some saves early, to kind of get the team settled in, and we kind of took over the game from there.

“It’s a big two points. We wanted to make sure we put together a good game and we rose to the ocassion and got the job done. I did my job – stop the puck – and the guys were great in front of me.”

Spezza called the game a “great win” for the team.

“Everybody played hard against a heck of a hockey club,” he said.

“They made us work for whatever we got. They took it to us at times, we took it to them at times, and we were opportunistic on our chances.”

Before the game, the Senators talked about matching the intensity of the Rangers.

“They’re a team that outworks a lot of teams,” said Spezza.

“They grind you down, but I thought we were right there with them all night, not giving up any ground.”

There was a scary moment near the end of the first period when Ruslan Fedotenko caught Spezza’s left knee with his right knee. Spezza was sore getting up – and sore at Fedotenko.

Fedotenko went off for kneeing but said he wasn’t trying to hit Spezza’s knee.

“It kind of looked like he was going to give me a shoulder, so I braced myself,” he said.

“Then he just moved his body. I thought it was a bad call.”

As it turned out, he didn’t even slow Spezza down.

He scored the only goal of the second period at 8:54 to give the Senators a 1-0 lead.

Spezza had wanted to get off the ice on a shift change, but a turnover in the neutral zone gave the puck to the Senators and Chris Phillips put it on Spezza’s stick at the blue line.

Spezza cut through the left circle and, with a good screen, beat Lundqvist to the stick side.

“He faked the pass,” said Lundqvist.

“After that I had three guys in front of me. I felt the puck touch me as it went in.”

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WHY THEY WON: Because they were patient and weathered the considerable storm. The Rangers had the run of play in the first but the Senators didn’t crumble and fought back in the second and third periods.

STUD: Jason Spezza, with two goals, Craig Anderson, with the team’s first shutout of the season, have to share this one. They both had exemplary games.

DUD: Marian Gaborik: The Senators did a good job on him, but he was invisible. He didn’t have a shot. The Rangers needed him to show up.

LEADING THE HIT PARADE: When Zenon Konopka fought New York Brandon Prust in the first period, he picked up his league-leading 13th major penalty for fighting. Prust picked up his 12th. A pair of Columbus Blue Jackets are tied for third with 11: Jared Boll and Derek Dorsett.

EMPTY HANDED: Kyle Turris had the most unfulfilling night of any Senator. He hit a crossbar, a post, got robbed on a good glove save by Lundqvist, and had a breakaway attempt slide off his stick.

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