Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson each scored two goals and Craig Anderson collected the shutout as the surging Ottawa Senators pounded the New York Islanders 6-0 on Monday, extending their winning run to three games.
After going winless in seven games around the All-Star break, Ottawa has earned nine of a possible 10 points in their last five games to put their playoff hopes back on track and move within two points of the first place Boston Bruins in the Northeast division.
"Every team goes through a rough patch," said Anderson, after recording his second shutout in three games. "We had a tough schedule, being on the road playing some pretty good teams that were playing really well.
"We lost a couple of close ones that could have gone either way and it just so happened that it made us stronger. We were able to dig deep and rebound from it."
Karlsson also added a pair of assists while Spezza, named one of the NHL's "Three Stars" of the week earlier on Monday, kept up his torrid scoring pace as the centre's two goals gave him five tallies and nine points in three games.
Coming off a rare four-day break the well-rested Senators got the U.S. Presidents Day matinee in Uniondale, New York, off to an explosive start as Karlsson and Spezza scored 27 seconds apart to grab a 2-0 lead 95 seconds into the game.
After watching a shaky Kevin Poulin surrender a pair of goals on five shots, Islanders coach Jack Capuano moved quickly to replace his starter with Al Montoya.
Chris Phillips's power play goal accounted for all the second period scoring as Ottawa upped their lead.
The Islanders outshot the Senators 9-0 in the opening seven minutes of the final frame but could not beat Anderson, who stopped 28 shots to earn his third shutout of the season.
Despite being outplayed in the third period, it was Ottawa who added to their lead when Brian Lee notched his first of the season on a setup from Karlsson. Spezza converted on a power play chance a minute later to complete the rout.
"That's it, 6-0 about sums it up pretty much," Senators coach Paul MacLean told reporters. "The team was ready to play ... scoring in the first 90 seconds getting two goals was good, a good sign of our preparation.
"We're very pleased about how we started and how we ended."
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)