OTTAWA, May 19 (UPI) -- Playing his first NHL playoff game, Jason Spezza helped the Ottawa Senators win an elimination game for the first time.
Spezza set up Martin Havlat's go-ahead goal in the third period before scoring the Senators' first power-play tally of the series as they stayed alive in the NHL Eastern Conference finals with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
A healthy scratch in each of Ottawa's first 15 playoff contests, Spezza replaced Chris Neil to provide offense after the Senators totaled just three goals in losing the previous three games. He did just that as Ottawa scored more than once in the third period for the first time in the postseason.
The Senators improved to 1-6 all-time when facing elimination. They must win again Wednesday in New Jersey to force a seventh game on Friday.
Havlat snapped a 1-1 tie with 12:01 remaining, scoring his fifth playoff goal and first of the series.
Peter Schaefer stole the puck behind the net from New Jersey's Sergei Brylin and backhanded it in front. Spezza worked it to Havlat, who moved out from the right goalpost and slid the puck into the crease. Goaltender Martin Brodeur tried to smother it, then swept it with his left pad. But the puck appeared to hit the right skate of Devils defenseman Richard Smehlik and caromed back into the net.
Scoreless on their first 20 power-play opportunities in the series, the Senators got another chance when Brian Gionta was penalized for hooking with 7:36 left. Ottawa finally converted four seconds later as Spezza deflected defenseman Chris Phillips' pass from the left point between Brodeur's pads.
Spezza, the second overall pick in the 2001 draft, has been unable to win a regular lineup spot.