Ceci scores late in third to lift Senators over Wild 3-2
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) A night after being eliminated from the playoffs themselves, the Ottawa Senators didn't let the Minnesota Wild get any closer to securing their own berth.
Cody Ceci got a goal with 3:57 left that deflected off two Minnesota players to help the Ottawa Senators beat the Wild 3-2 on Thursday night.
Ceci sent a puck forward from behind the Wild net, which bounced off Erik Haula's skates and then redirected off the skate of goaltender Devan Dubnyk and into the net for Ceci's ninth tally of the season.
''It's funny that we start getting (bounces) now when we're eliminated, but we'll take them,'' Ceci said. ''It's nice to finish strong in the season, and that's what we're trying to do right now. It was just a fortunate bounce that ended up being the winner.''
Erik Karlsson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored, Craig Anderson made 23 saves and Ottawa won its second straight game. The Senators were eliminated Wednesday despite a win at Winnipeg when Philadelphia won its game.
Minnesota leads idle Colorado by five points for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference but had its season-high six-game winning streak snapped. Zach Parise scored his team-high 25th goal.
Haula tied it early in the third, but the Wild fell to 2-21-5 this season when trailing after two periods. Dubnyk made 19 saves.
''We had a lot of guys that got to up their ante there,'' Minnesota interim coach John Torchetti said. ''There's no nights off in this league. It's the best league in the world. So, we've got to be ready to battle and I didn't like our battle level.''
Pageau also had two assists for the Senators. Karlsson opened the scoring in the second with his 15th goal of the season and assisted on Pageau's 18th goal to give him the most points in a season by a defenseman since he set a career high with 78 in 2011-12.
''Had some guys who've played a lot of hockey lately and on a back-to-back, I thought we did a real good job sticking with it,'' Ottawa coach Dave Cameron said. ''Just got some puck luck on Ceci's goal. Nice win for us.''
With playoff position on the line, Minnesota struggled to get much going against the pesky Senators until the third.
Haula tied the game 2-all while tying the franchise-record with a 10-game point streak. The Wild nearly pulled ahead with less than 7 minutes left when Matt Dumba appeared to knock a loose puck into the net, but the whistle had blown after Anderson went down on his back to block a shot.
''Nothing you can do to change those,'' Torchetti said. ''You'd love to get the call for yourself, but we didn't. We've got to be better. It's a 2-2 game, 3 minutes left, and we let one guy on the forecheck beat us from the neutral zone. We've got to do a better job, close that off and not even let him have a chance and being ready for any play that comes out from behind the net.''
NOTES: Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon left the game early in the first period after blocking a shot from Senators F Bobby Ryan and didn't return. Torchetti didn't have an update after the game but said Spurgeon would travel with the team to Detroit. ... Parise has six goals in the past four games. ... Ottawa F Mark Stone was scratched with a chest injury after taking a big hit from Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien a night earlier. It was the first game Stone, who leads Senators forwards with 61 points, has missed this season due to injury. ... Scott Gomez returned to the lineup after being scratched for two games. ... Wild F Thomas Vanek was scratched with an upper-body injury. ... Chris Porter returned after being scratched for three games. ... F David Jones missed his second straight game with an illness. ... D Ben Harpur made his NHL debut for the Senators. Harpur was a fourth-round draft choice by the team in 2013.