Heatley, Auld give Senators split in Sweden
A change in goaltenders and the hot hand of Dany Heatley helped the Ottawa Senators earn a split in Sweden.
Alex Auld made 30 saves and Heatley scored a pair of power-play goals as the Senators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 Sunday in Stockholm.
"This is an experience that I'll always remember and which I'm going to rank among the highlights in my career," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, a native of Sweden.
The 35-year-old Alfredsson, who said he will not return to the Swedish Elite League when he ends his NHL career, set up Heatley's goals.
Heatley, who also had a goal in Ottawa's 4-3 overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday, helped the Senators take three of four points during the season-opening European series.
"The way we played I think is encouraging," Alfredsson said. "Heater stepped up with two big goals today and showed the way.
"We kept them in check throughout the game. They had some chances but [goalie] Alex [Auld] played very well. So we have to be really happy with this. They're a good team. They have a lot of confidence since last year, and to be able to get three of four points here is big for us."
Auld comes up big
Looking to rebound from a 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins on Saturday, coach Craig Hartsburg turned to Auld after starter Martin Gerber struggled in the loss.
The change worked: Auld turned aside the Penguins most of the way, particularly during two power plays in the opening eight minutes of the third period.
Heatley continued his successful weekend, scoring his second and third goals of the season.
"As a group it was a big weekend for us," Heatley said. "We were hungry for these two games. Even if we only got one point last night we felt we worked hard. We played well and could easily have won that game. We tried really to come on and battle as a group, and we did a good job at that."
Winger Antoine Vermette netted Ottawa's other tally, while Alex Goligoski spoiled Auld's shutout bid with a power-play goal just two seconds left in regulation in front of another sold-out crowd of 13,699 at Globe Arena.
The teams skated through a scoreless opening period before Ottawa took a 1-0 advantage at 13:07 of the second. With the Senators on a power play, Heatley was able to swipe a second shot between the legs of Pens goaltender Marc-André Fleury, who made 24 saves in the game.
After Auld thwarted the Penguins in the early stages of the final period, Heatley pounced again with the man advantage at 12:17. The veteran winger alertly adjusted his position, took a pass from Alfredsson and rifled a shot by Fleury.
"We were hungry for these two games," said Heatley. "Even if we only got one point last night we felt we worked hard. We played well and could easily have won that game. We tried really to come on and battle as a group and we did a good job at that."
Vermette then iced the game on the breakaway with less than five minutes remaining.
In the first period, both teams played well defensively. Pittsburgh's power play continued to fizzle, failing twice. In Saturday's opener, the Penguins squandered five straight man-advantage chances in the first period.
The Senators did another terrific job in limiting Penguins superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The dynamic duo managed an assist apiece on Goligoski's goal, after registering only one point each on Saturday.
This marked the second time Pittsburgh played the first two games of the regular season on international ice. The Penguins travelled to Tokyo in 2000-01, splitting a two-game series with the Nashville Predators.
It was the fifth time the NHL began its season outside of North America, with the other three openers held in Japan in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
Ottawa's Mike Fisher missed both weekend games with a groin injury.
The teams will have several days to recuperate after their European tour, each returning to action on Saturday. Ottawa will host the Detroit Red Wings (CBC, CBCSports.ca 6:30 p.m. ET), with Pittsburgh receiving a visit from New Jersey.
With files from the Associated Press