"It's obviously big to get those two and start the road trip on the right foot," Benn said. "It wasn't an easy two points and we really didn't help ourselves out too much. We gave up a couple, but found a way to win in the shootout."
The game had a number of twists and turns, but perhaps the most disconcerting for the Senators was an injury to goalie Craig Anderson.
With 1:32 gone in overtime, Anderson went down hard after being hit by Valeri Nichushkin. The goalie was taken off the ice on a stretcher after he appeared to take a knee to the head.
The Sens said Anderson had a stiff neck and would receive further evaluation Monday. It is unlikely he will play Tuesday.
Anderson faced 36 shots before Robin Lehner was forced into action. Lehner stopped two shots in overtime.
Ryan, Erik Karlsson and Spezza scored for the Senators (4-6-4).
The Senators' winless streak reached five games (0-3-2).
"I thought we dug in and found a way to get something out of a game," Senators coach Doug MacLean said. "That's a great start for our team."
They haven't won on home ice since Oct. 17.
"We can't keep doing this all season," Erik Karlsson said. "We got a point and we played better than we have in the past, so we have to take the positives out of things."
After a solid second period, the Senators had some bad luck when Borowiecki put the puck in his own net when trying to clear it from the front of the net giving the Stars a 3-2 lead.
Despite Borowiecki's goal, the Senators did all they could to tie things, and with 9.6 seconds remaining in regulation Ryan jumped on a loose puck in the slot and tied it.
"We rebounded, which we really haven't seen our team do in the past," Ryan said. "We found a way to get one late to tie it. I thought the team battled and that's all you can really ask for."
The second period didn't get off to a great start for the Senators as Nichushkin, with his first NHL goal, made it 2-0 after taking a pass from Brenden Dillon and beat Anderson high 30 seconds into the period.
Chris Neil took a double minor for high sticking, but the Senators managed to kill the penalties and even created a number of scoring chances short-handed.
Ottawa cut the deficit in half when Karlsson took a cross-ice pass from Ryan and caught Lehtonen moving at 7:41. Ottawa capped the period with a power-play goal by Spezza to make it 2-2 at 16:40.
The Stars opened the scoring at 17:03 of the first when Whitney came down the side boards and beat Anderson glove side. The play was a result of a Milan Michalek turnover in the Stars end.
D Eric Gryba and D Joe Corvo were healthy scratches for the Senators. RW Erik Condra missed the game with a sprained muscle in his right leg. ... The Stars' D Kevin Connauton and LW Lane MacDermid were healthy scratches. ... D Sergei Gonchar who played three seasons with the Senators was given a warm welcome by fans with a video tribute during the first intermission.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.