DALLAS â€” Guy Boucher’s decision to use rookie Fredrik Claesson as a seventh Ottawa defenceman paid off.
Claesson scored his first NHL goal and added an assist to help the Senators win their fourth straight game, 5-2 over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night..
“When you end up deciding that you’re going seven and 11 (forwards) and your seven gets a goal and an assist, I think it’s one of those days that you go to bed thinking you’re smart,” Boucher said. “He’s a good player, we know that. Knock on wood, we haven’t had many injuries on D and so he’s had to wait his turn more often than he deserved.”
Claesson scored with a slap shot from the top of the slot to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead at 15:21 of the first period. He was playing in his 36th game.
“It feels really good. I kind of waited for this moment for a long time. It was a faceoff. I just hammered an old knuckle puck there. I wasn’t sure at all that it went in.”
Craig Anderson made 35 saves and tied Patrick Lalime for the Ottawa franchise record with 146 victories.
“It’s a credit to the guys in front for all these years of hard work and dedication,” Anderson said, “and just a byproduct of guys playing hard in front of me.”
Ottawa moved within four points of first-place Montreal in the Atlantic Division. The Senators’ winning streak began after they acquired Viktor Stalberg and Alexandre Burrows near the trade deadline.
Stalberg also had a big night, with a goal and assist on the power play. Ottawa was 2 for 3 with the man advantage after going 2 for 16 in its previous six games.
Adding Stalberg to the power play was another decision that worked out for Boucher.
“It’s all about deserving, and when a guy like that deserves it every night in the fourth game with us, it doesn’t matter if he’s new, he deserved it, so he got the ice time and he definitely helped us win this game again.”
Cody Ceci also each had a goal and an assist for the Senators, and Mike Hoffman had two assists.
Chris Wideman and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored against Dallas starting goalie Kari Lehtonen, who left at 3:21 of the second period after allowing three goals in 18 shots.
Antti Niemi replaced Lehtonen. Ottawa didn’t have a shot on goal against Niemi for 14:48, until Stalberg scored on the power play for a 4-1 lead.
Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza scored for Dallas. Niemi stopped only three of five shots.
Ottawa took a 2-0 lead when Zack Smith won a faceoff and the puck went to Claesson.
“The guys were great tonight right off the bat,” Anderson said. “We pushed back after they came out of the gate flying. We’re able to get to a 2-0 lead there at the end of the first and we didn’t turn it down at all. We kept the pressure up and took over the second period.”
Stars coach Lindy Ruff gave Anderson more credit.
“I thought their goaltender gave them a hell of a game.”
Notes: The Stars signed RW Adam Cracknell to a one-year contract extension for $675,000. In his seventh season, the first with Dallas, he has career highs of seven goals and 54 games played. … Ottawa C Kyle Turris missed his first game this season because of an injured finger. … In Pageau’s past four games against the Stars, he has six points (three goals, three assists). He won 13 of 15 faceoffs. … Playing in his third NHL game, Dallas’ Remi Elie had his first assist on Seguin’s goal, and Ales Hemsky had his first point in only five games played in an injury-riddled season. . Borowiecki, the league leader in penalty minutes, increased his total to 126 with a double minor for roughing in the first period.
Senators: Play the second of three road games in four nights on Friday at Arizona.
Stars: Begin a four-game trip on Sunday at San Jose.
The Associated Press