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Mark Stone registers three Points to Lead Ottawa Senators Over Edmonton Oilers, ending winless drought

The Ottawa Senators stopped the slide Sunday night.

And, it couldn’t have come soon enough.

The Senators needed a boost of confidence after struggling to score goals and going winless in four straight so maybe a 5-3 victory over 19-year-old phenom Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in front of 17,724 at the Canadian Tire Centre will go a long way in that department.

Winger Mark Stone had a three-point effort, Zack Smith and Mike Hoffman each had two points while Tom Pyatt and Kyle Turris also chipped in with goals as the Senators scored their first win in 2017. McDavid had a two assists while Patrick Maroon scored twice and Leon Draisaitl was the other goal scorer for the Oilers.

Though Mike Condon didn’t look good in the second, he stepped up in the third as the Senators were outshot 17-3 and made 35 saves for the win in his 16th straight appearance. Oilers’ backup Jonas Gustavsson wasn’t any good by allowing four goals on 17 shots while Turris scored an empty-netter.

“We’re a confident group regardless of what happens. Wins always help the mood,” said Condon. “We lost four one-goal games in a row and that’s tough but tonight was a good step in the right direction.”

Yup, all was right in the world. After being a healthy scratch for what sure looks like disciplinary reasons Saturday night in a 2-1 loss to Washington, Bobby Ryan returned against the Oilers but didn’t shed much light on why he was left out of the lineup when he faced the media after the game.

“I had a personal issue that arose. We dealt with it in house and we’re going to keep it in house,” said Ryan.

Asked if it was for disciplinary reasons, Ryan wouldn’t elaborate: “As far as we’re concerned it’s already done, a non-issue.”

Scoring wasn’t an issue for the Senators either against the Oilers and it had been for Ottawa with only six goals scored in the four-game losing streak.

Coach Guy Boucher noted the Senators are in the midst of a tough stretch with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs both coming to town before this homestand wraps up so this victory was key.

“There’s a lot of great things,” said Boucher. “We started extremely hard and they finished extremely hard. I liked our character in that game.”

The Senators held a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes but it was a roller-coaster ride because neither goalie was stepping up with big stops in the second.

After the Oilers erased Ottawa’s 2-0 lead in the second and the two teams were tied 3-3, Pyatt scored his fifth with 1:46 left in the second when he took a perfect feed from Cody Ceci to beat Gustavsson to move the Senators ahead by a goal.

“We didn’t want to make it five losses in a row. We knew we were playing well in those four games, they were losses, but we knew we had to keep pushing forward and getting better. Every guy just had a bit more to their game and it was nice to get the two (points),” said Pyatt.

Only 34 seconds after Draisaitl gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead with a goal he banked off Condon from below the goal-line, the Senators answered back when Stone fired home his 12th of the season at 13:33 by taking a perfect feed from Smith to beat Gustavsson to tie it.

This game turned in a span of 1:03 on the Senators. Trying to throw a pass through the slot, Maroon erased Ottawa’s 2-0 lead with his second of the game on what turned out to be a fortunate bounce off defenceman Ceci’s skate and by Condon on the glove side.

Maroon scored his 15th of the season at 5:58 of the second to pull the Oilers to within a goal by beating Condon through the five-hole from the left circle.

Given the way the Senators have started lately, they had to be thrilled with their effort in the first. Not only did they outshoot the Oilers 10-9, Ottawa pulled out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Senators, who had gone 0-for-14 with the man advantage in the last five games, finally ended the slump when Hoffman fired home his 11th of the season at 14:53. While he hit the post on his first attempt, Hoffman made no mistake on his second chance with a one-timer from the circle.

For only the 15th time this season, the Senators actually opened the scoring, but they should give some thanks to the Oilers. They were awful in their own end and Smith was able to beat Gustavsson low for his ninth of the season at 3:36 on the fifth shot he faced.

“I thought we played a great first period,” said Stone. “It wasn’t the prettiest second period but we battled hard. I thought in the third we battled hard but we relied on the goalie there the last 15 minutes.”

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter: @sungarrioch

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