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Lehner frustrated after Senators 6-3 loss to Stars in Spezza's return to Ottawa

01/29/2015 10:20 EST | Updated 03/31/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Robin Lehner wants to pay his penance to the hockey gods and move forward.

John Klingberg scored the winner at 10:51 of the third period and the Dallas Stars added two empty-net goals to seal the 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Lehner, making his first start since Jan. 13th, stopped 35 shots. The Senators goalie has struggled in his rare starts, leaving the 23-year-old Lenher wondering what else he can do.

"Honestly I can't really explain it," said Lehner. "The last few games I've played I work hard and I'm trying to get better and I feel good, but bar in, post in, it hits someone. It's just not going my way. I don't know, I guess I'll have a long sauna and think about things and who did I hurt to get these bounces. I don't know.

"Obviously, I've got to go back and try to get even better. I've got to find a way."

Ottawa got off to a rough start, but rallied only to see the game slip away as well as another two points in the standings.

"(Coming back) it's another moral victory, but it's a little too late for them," said Senators forward Bobby Ryan. "You're point watching in January. It's tough."

Jamie Benn struck twice for the Stars (22-19-7), while Colton Sceviour, Ales Hemsky and Trevor Daley had goals as well. Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for the win.

Mika Zibanejad, Ryan and Alex Chiasson scored for the Senators (19-19-9).

Thursday's game marked Jason Spezza's return to Ottawa for the first time since being traded to the Stars in the off-season. While few knew how the former Senators captain would be received, the 18,752 on hand gave Spezza a standing ovation following a video tribute early in the first period.

"I'm happy to have it over," said Spezza. "It's an emotional game. I was really thankful to the Senators organization for having a little tribute to me there and the reception of the fans acknowledgement.

"It was a great chapter of my career being here and for me this gives me a little closing of a chapter and looking forward to the future with the Stars, but the first time (back) was tough. It's emotional coming back."

With the game tied 3-3 the Stars took the lead midway through the third period, as Klingberg took advantage of an Ottawa turnover to break in alone and beat Lehner with a wrist shot.

"I thought our whole game was slow, was sloppy," said Senators coach Dave Cameron. "We were a real easy team to play against so that led to some real quality chances against. It was just one of those games where we got back into it, but we still didn't have the jump."

Trailing 3-2, Chiasson tied things up early in the third as he took a cross-ice pass from Kyle Turris and tapped it in as he drove to the net. It was Chiasson's first goal in 17 games.

"I guess I can't believe I put that one in," said Chiasson with a laugh. "It was a nice play by (Turris). I faced a little bit of adversity this week. It's not easy as a player to think you're going to be out of the lineup."

After a rough start to the game the Senators had a much better second period, thanks to some solid goaltending from Lehner.

Lehner made huge saves on Spezza, two on Patrick Eaves and got a little help when Seguin rang a shot off the goalpost. The Senators were outshot 16-8 in the second.

Things did not start well for Ottawa as it trailed 3-0 by the 12-minute mark of the first period, although two late goals salvaged an otherwise rough start.

Zibanejad got the Senators on the board as he retrieved his own rebound and jammed it in. With less than two minutes remaining Ryan, who now has 21 points in 20 games, was able to jump on a loose puck in the crease to bring the Senators within one.

Benn opened the scoring with a power-play goal as he was left wide open. Less than a minute later Sceviour made it 2-0 as he deflected a shot in front. Hemsky made it 3-0 on the Stars second power-play goal of the period as picked the top corner to beat Lehner glove side.

Notes: D Mark Borowiecki, D Patrick Wiercioch and C David Legwand were a healthy scratch. G Craig Anderson is day-to-day with a hand injury and C Zack Smith (wrist) remains sidelined for the Senators. Dallas LW Erik Cole remains day-to-day with a lower body injury. D Jordie Benn and RW Brett Ritchie were a healthy scratch.

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