OTTAWA -- Jay Harrison celebrated like it was the first overtime goal of his life.
That, of course, is because it was.
The Carolina Hurricanes defenseman swatted home a rebound 2:19 into the extra period to give his team a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place.
"It's nice to contribute as a guy who's not known for major contributions on a nightly basis," said Harrison, who has 15 goals in his 211-game NHL career. "To be able to do so, once in awhile, especially in a big game, is a great feeling."
Harrison's winner was off a two-on-one break with Jordan Staal, after Jeff Skinner sent the pair down the ice with a nice effort at the Carolina blue line.
"There were a lot of heroes," Staal said. "Skinny made a great play to chip it by their 'D' and I had a step on him. Harry was definitely flying down the wing. He had great legs to join in. It opened it up, I made a move, put it on net, and Harry found a way to bury the rebound."
Alexander Semin's second goal of the season with 7:34 left in the third period set the stage for Harrison's heroics. Semin scored on a hard wrist shot with Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson serving a delay-of-game penalty for accidentally flipping the puck over the glass.
It was Alfredsson who broke a 1-1 tie in the second period with his third goal of the season and second in two nights.
The Hurricanes managed to keep it close because of Cam Ward's strong play in their net. Ward wound up making 45 saves, including five in overtime.
"We hit him a lot, or he made a lot of good saves," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "That's the difference. The second, we really dominated and only came out of it with a 2-1 lead."
Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson had 11 shots on Ward and beat him once to give the home team a 1-0 lead in the first period. That stood until just past the midway mark of the second period when Chad LaRose notched his first of the season with a wrister off the post.
Craig Anderson ended up making 23 saves in the Ottawa net.
"There's going to be nights where you win the game, but you lose on the scoreboard," Anderson said. "That was definitely one."
The Hurricanes were far from satisfied with their performance, but they certainly weren't ashamed of the win.
"It was another gutsy effort," Ward said. "Obviously, we can be a little bit better, but our power play came up with a huge goal there. Walking away with two points is always good."
Harrison called the outcome gratifying.
"It was a hard-fought game, up and down ... it really had a playoff feel to it in that it was very tight checking," he said. "We had to overcome a bit of adversity, a little lull in the second period. But the fact we were able to overcome that and put together a solid third period to get the game to overtime, and then capitalize, is a big building block for our club."
The Hurricanes, now 5-4 on the season, play the Flyers on Saturday in Philadelphia. The Senators (6-3-2) next play host to the Winnipeg Jets, also on Saturday.
NOTES: The first period-goal by Karlsson was the fifth of the season for the defending Norris Trophy winner. ... Defenseman Mike Lundin made his Senators debut after missing the first 10 games with a broken finger he suffered while playing in Sweden during the lockout. Lundin will be excused from Friday's practice, however, as his wife is giving birth to twins. ... Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller gave the goaltending start to Ward, despite the fact backup Dan Ellis shut out the Senators last week in Carolina. Muller said Tuesday's 4-1 win over Toronto was Ward's best game of the season. ... Former Senators first-round pick Tim Gleason played his 441st game for the Hurricanes, moving him into ninth place on the franchise career list.