Spezza’s Return Lifts Senators Over Bruins 2-1

BOSTON (AP) — Jason Spezza returned after missing 20 games with a knee injury to score the winner in the second period and the surging Ottawa Senators earned their sixth straight victory, 2-1 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

The loss was the fourth in a row and seventh in the last eight games for Boston, which has lost four straight for the first time since December 2007. The Bruins, in danger of slipping out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference, have lost five in a row at home, the first time the club has dropped five straight regulation home decisions since 2000.

It was the Senators’ second win in six days in Boston after they lost the first four games of the season series to the Bruins, who were booed by their fans at the end of the game.

Daniel Alfredsson, who had a hat trick in Ottawa’s 5-1 victory on Monday, beat Tim Thomas for the Senators’ first goal. He has five goals and four assists in the last five games, since returning after missing 11 with a shoulder injury. Spezza scored his sixth goal of the season at 16:39 of the second period.

Daniel Paille scored for Boston, which took 33 shots at Brian Elliott and outshot the Ottawa, 13-2, in the third period of a game that saw both teams have a goal taken away by video review.

Thomas made 13 saves in the first period, seven of them coming on a power play that also included Alex Kovalev hitting a post.

It appeared the first period would end scoreless, but Ottawa’s Matt Carkner stopped Mark Recchi’s clear at center ice and that led to Alfredsson picking up the puck, going around Zdeno Chara and squeezing a wrist shot between Thomas’ pads with 5.9 seconds left for his 14th goal of the season.

The Bruins tied it when Patrice Bergeron took a heavy hit at center ice and got the puck to Paille, who walked down the left side and connected on a 35-foot slap shot high on Elliott’s glove. It was his third goal in the last five games after going nine without one.

The Bruins thought they had taken a 2-1 lead when Paille slid the puck across to Recchi for a tap-in, but Recchi was judged, upon review, to have kicked the puck in and the goal was overturned.

Ottawa then took the 2-1 lead when Kovalev carried the puck into the Boston zone and hit Spezza with a long pass. Spezza, who had scored a goal in each of his last three games, ripped a long wrist over Thomas’ stick side.

It was then Ottawa’s turn to have a goal waved off upon review when Mike Fisher tipped Alfredsson’s shot down and past Thomas with 1:05 left in the period.

NOTES: Recchi played in his 1,540th NHL game, tying him with former Bruins great John Bucyk for 10th place on the all-time NHL list. .. Kovalev has a six-game points streak. … The Bruins were missing Marc Savard, Marco Sturm Andrew Ference, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz. … Ottawa was missing goalie Pascal Leclaire (concussion) and center Jesse Winchester (knee). … Boston recalled defenseman Adam McQuaid from Providence, but for Sunday’s game at Carolina. … The Bruins were wearing copies of their Winter Classic jerseys, the originals sold to a private company that has an equipment deals with the NHL.

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