Spezza powers Senators past Islanders 4-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2014 at 10:30 pm •  Published: April 8, 2014

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The New York Islanders were seeking a positive finish to a frustrating season on home ice. Ottawa's Jason Spezza and Craig Anderson did their best to block that effort.

Spezza scored twice and Anderson made 45 saves as the Senators topped the Islanders 4-1 on Tuesday night.

The Senators (34-31-14) will still miss the postseason for the first time since 2011 and just the third time since 1996. They were making their first appearance this season at Nassau Coliseum, and the Islanders won the previous two meetings in Ottawa.

"It feels good to put together a team effort and come away with the win," Anderson said. "We played well."

Matt Kassian scored an empty-net goal at 19:48, his first this season. Spezza, the Senators' captain, had the chance for a hat trick, but instead passed to Kassian.

Frans Nielsen scored the lone goal for the Islanders with his career-best 25th in the team's home finale. Anders Nilsson made 28 saves for the Islanders (31-37-11), who won't reach the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. They finished 13-19-9 at home.

"The effort has been there and will continue to be there," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "We're going to keep pushing and playing hard until the end."

Spezza opened the scoring on a tip-in at 12:45 of the second.

Nielsen then tied it 22 seconds into the third. Rookie defenseman Kevin Czuczman and Josh Bailey had assists, giving Bailey points in six straight games.

Spezza's go-ahead goal at 12:45 of the third came when his shot edged under crossbar behind Nilsson. Ales Hemsky, who assisted on both of Spezza's goals, added his 13th at 14:26 of the third to make it 3-1.

The Islanders qualified for the postseason last year for the first time since 2007 and lost to the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in a tough six-game opening-round series. But they never found firm footing this season after trading captain John Tavares' longtime linemate Matt Moulson to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek on Oct. 27. They subsequently traded Vanek to Montreal at the March 5 deadline.

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