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Senators beat Islanders, but miss playoffs
Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Jason Spezza scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
Despite the victory, their second in a row, the Senators were eliminated from playoff contention because Columbus beat Phoenix in overtime on Tuesday.
Spezza scored the go-ahead goal 12:45 into the third period on a sharp-angle shot from the low right side that hit off goaltender Anders Nilsson's shoulder and rattled around inside the top of the net before popping out.
Play initially continued, but the Senators captain was sure right away the puck had gone in. After a brief review, he was proven correct.
Ales Hemsky made it 3-1 just 1:41 later, beating Nilsson glove side with a close forehand, and Matt Kassian added an empty-net goal for the final margin.
Craig Anderson had 45 saves for the Senators, whose playoff hopes depended on them going 4-0 to finish the season and Columbus losing its remaining four games.
Spezza said the Senators will continue to work.
"You have to show you're playing for pride and you're playing for each other," he said. "Guys' jobs are on the line. When you have a year as disappointing as this year was, changes are inevitable and you don't want to see people get moved around or moved out because of lack of effort in the last few games."
Frans Nielsen scored for the Islanders, who have lost three in a row. It was New York's final home game of the season. The Islanders went 18-19-2 in their second-to-last season at Nassau Coliseum before moving to Brooklyn in 2015.
"We had some problems here at home," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano. "That's something we have to straighten out if we want to make the playoffs."
Nilsson gave up three goals on 31 shots, the first on Spezza's shot from the high left side on a power play 12:45 into the second period.
Nielsen tied it for the Islanders 22 seconds into the third period on a loose- puck backhand from the low slot after Anderson let a rebound get away.
The Islanders will start a season-ending three-game road trip on Thursday in Montreal. They will also play New Jersey and Buffalo on the journey.
The Senators, who were coming off a 3-2 road win over the Rangers on Saturday, have points in seven of their last nine games (6-2-1) but will still miss the playoffs for the second time in the last six years, and first time since 2011.
They have three games remaining, beginning with Thursday's home test against New Jersey, and also play Toronto and Pittsburgh.
Ottawa went 1-1-1 against the Islanders this season ... Spezza scored his 21st and 22nd goals and Hemsky got his 13th of the season ... Nielsen scored his 25th.
04/09 00:39:43 ET