OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) A close victory left Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff far from impressed.
Antoine Roussel scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period, leading the Stars past the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Sunday night. Jason Spezza also scored for the Stars, and Kari Lehtonen made 23 saves.
But it was the details that had Ruff concerned after the game.
''I wasn't happy with our puck movement,'' he said. ''It might be the worst puck moving game for missing passes and not making plays in the three years I've coached here.''
Zack Smith scored the lone goal for Ottawa. Andrew Hammond turned aside 23 shots in the loss, which left the Senators six points back of the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
''This is a tough one,'' Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot said. ''Especially with the way we were playing coming off that back-to-back win in Toronto. We were rolling pretty well through the first two periods, even in the third.
The Senators appeared to take the lead five minutes into the third when Curtis Lazar shot the puck into the back of the net. But the Stars challenged that the play was offside - and a review determined that Mike Hoffman was just a step ahead of the play, negating the goal.
Smith opened the scoring with his 18th of the season at 4:45 of the second. Mark Stone made a great pass from behind the net to Smith in front.
The Stars tied it at 14:05 on the power play as Spezza fired a shot through traffic. Spezza, a former Senator, has scored a goal against all 30 NHL teams.
''It's one of those things you don't think about, but just kind of like to have,'' Spezza said. ''Beating your old team, it definitely feels good.''
Roussel gave Dallas the lead at 17:46 of the third as the Sens scrambled in their own end.
''It's just a shame that we gave up that one goal at the end of the game,'' Methot said, ''but those are the bounces sometimes.''
Despite a scoreless first period, the Senators were able to gain some momentum off some good scoring chances. Smith was stopped from in close and Ryan Dzingel had a great chance midway through the period, but Lehtonen was solid.
''We'd be lying if we said we didn't watch the scoreboards,'' Smith said. ''It doesn't change the way we're playing. If anything, it's a little motivation. It definitely makes (Sunday's) loss sting a bit more.''
NOTES: Methot played his 500th NHL career game. ... Senators G Craig Anderson remains day-to-day with a knee injury. ... D Michael Kostka made his Senators debut in place of Patrick Wiercioch. ... The Stars were without LW Patrick Sharp (lower body) and RW Patrick Eaves (illness).