NEW YORK – Chris Kelly snapped a second-period tie, and Martin Gerber came back from a day off to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-1 victory over Sean Avery and the New York Rangers on Sunday night.

Gerber, who sat out the Senators’ 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago at home on Saturday night, made 34 saves to earn his fourth win in five outings. He gave up Scott Gomez’s goal 3:42 in and then held off New York the rest of the way.

Jason Spezza and Kelly wiped out an early deficit for the Senators, who lead the Eastern Conference with 50 points (23-8-4). Ottawa got back to its winning ways after going 0-1-1 following six straight victories.

Mike Fisher made it 3-1 when his shot from the right point, after a turnover by New York’s Chris Drury, hit Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and caromed in at 9:08 of the third period. The Senators took the season series 3-1 and have won 16 of 20 from the Rangers since the 2002-03 season.

Avery returned to the Rangers after missing 11 games following wrist surgery. He jawed and jostled and hit anyone he could starting from his first shift in the opening 2 minutes. It just wasn’t enough.

Thrashers 3, Blues 2, OT

ST. LOUIS – Marian Hossa scored on a break-in at 19 seconds of overtime after a defensive mistake, and Ilya Kovalchuk scored his NHL-leading 29th goal for Atlanta.

Hossa swept in alone on goalie Manny Legace after Jay McKee fumbled the puck in the air and then lost control after Eric Perrin flipped it into the St. Louis zone.

The Thrashers have won four in a row, beating Montreal by the same score in a shootout Saturday, after losing their previous four games, and won in St. Louis for the first time in franchise history.

Kovalchuk has 25 goals and 16 assists in the last 28 games for the Thrashers, who climbed above .500 at 18-17-1. Mark Recchi tied it in the third period with his fourth goal in seven games since being claimed off re-entry waivers on Dec. 8.

Keith Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the Blues, giving him six points in three games. Barret Jackman added his first goal of the season.

Blackhawks 3, Oilers 2

CHICAGO – Defenseman Brent Seabrook had his first two-goal game in the NHL, and Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves for Chicago.

Seabrook’s second goal, at 1:20 of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie. His drive from the right wing beat goalie Mathieu Garon on the short side.

Patrick Sharp also scored for the Blackhawks in their third straight victory.

Tom Gilbert and Dustin Penner connected for the Oilers.

Predators 3, Jackets 1

COLUMBUS, Ohio – J.P Dumont broke a tie with 38 seconds left, and Chris Mason made 30 saves for Nashville in the Predators’ 11th straight victory over Columbus.

David Legwand had a power-play goal, and Jed Ortmeyer added an empty-netter for the Predators in their second straight victory after a five-game losing streak.

Dan Fritsche scored the lobe goal for Columbus.


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