OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — With their own playoff hopes long gone, the Ottawa Senators are taking great satisfaction in making life harder for those still fighting for a spot.
Mike Hoffman scored his 22nd goal at 3:26 of overtime and the Senators beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night to win their third game in a row for just the second time this season.
Marian Gaborik and Matt Duchene also scored for the Senators (26-33-11), and Craig Anderson made 23 saves. Ottawa won on home ice for the first time since Feb. 17.
“We’re showing what kind of team we really are in here,” Duchene said. “It’s too bad it’s so late in the season and we couldn’t have done this a little earlier, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. We want to go into the summer on a high note and we’re on our way.”
Tyler Seguin and Tyler Pitlick had the goals for the Stars (38-26-8). Ben Bishop, who stopped 22 shots, made his first start since missing five games with a knee injury sustained March 5 against the Senators. Bishop has a 9-0-4 career record against Ottawa.
Dallas, in the thick of a crowded playoff race, has lost four straight for its longest skid of the season.
“It’s very disappointing,” Pitlick said. “Every point is important right now.”
Stars coach Ken Hitchcock chose to look at the one point his team earned in a more favorable light.
“This is a great point,” he said. “To come back and we’ve got nothing left in the tank and we keep pushing, this is a good point. The (6-5 overtime loss on Wednesday) in Toronto was tough, it’s really tough, but this is a great point. Ottawa has a lot of skill and a lot of speed and they put us to the test and to come back and get a point in this game after we almost gave it away is good. We move on.”
The Stars did themselves no favors in the third.
The Senators started the period on a power play and were able to take advantage as Gaborik scored his 10th of the season on a one-timer off some solid work from Thomas Chabot and Ryan Dzingel to tie it at 1.
“We’ve done a good job staying strong mentally,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. “We don’t score the first goal and we’re still winning the game — we’ve had a few of those lately and I think our players are looking really good. But I’ve been saying it for a long time and now we’re getting some results.”
The Stars didn’t register their first shot until the 16th minute of the period, shortly after the Senators took a 2-1 lead on Duchene’s goal.
Duchene took the puck on his backhand, moved it to his forehand and beat Bishop high from in close. Just more than a minute later, the Stars tied it 2-all as Pitlick put the puck past Anderson.
Neither team seemed to be able to get much going in the second.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a great chance but rang a shot off the post, and the Stars hit one at the other end.
Mark Borowiecki took an elbow to the mouth midway through the game and went to the dressing room, but was able to return.
Pitlick took a late double-minor for high sticking Senators defenseman Ben Harpur with just under a minute left in the second to set up Ottawa for a three-minute man advantage to open the third.
The Stars opened the scoring midway through the first on the power play as some good passing led to Jamie Benn feeding Seguin for a one-timer and his 38th goal of the season, a career high.
The Senators had their chances but hit the post three times, twice on the same power play.
Benn had a strange moment late in the game when he fell on Erik Karlsson’s stick and wouldn’t let it go and then took it to the Stars’ bench. He later asked Karlsson if he could have it, and the Senators’ captain gladly gave it up.
“I’ll gladly give a good player that stick,” said Karlsson, who acknowledged he’d never had anyone ask him for a stick during a game before.
NOTES: Ottawa’s Mark Stone missed his third straight game with a leg injury. … Stars D Marc Methot sat out his second consecutive game with a hand injury. The former Senator and Ottawa native was set to play his first game against the team since being selected in the expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights and later traded to Dallas.
Stars: At the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
Senators: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
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