Senators stick it to Hurricanes
The Ottawa Senators remain a team in the eye of the storm, but they handled the Carolina Hurricanes with surprising ease on Tuesday night.
With a five-game losing streak fuelling rumours of roster shakeups and front-office firings, the Senators vented their frustrations in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Hurricanes in front of 18,512 fans at Scotiabank Place.
The Senators peppered Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward with 40 shots in a determined bid to halt the skid, which had prompted rumblings in the nation's capital that the time has come to make changes — everything from sacking general manager Bryan Murray and/or head coach Craig Hartsburg to peddling pricey superstars like Jason Spezza.
"We played a good game … it is nice to get contributions from everyone," Spezza said. "I think that can go a long way for our club, so we're happy with the result."
Dany Heatley and Antoine Vermette had one goal and one assist apiece in support of rookie netminder Brian Elliott, who posted 23 saves in his second start of the season and third in the NHL.
Elliott made his NHL debut with Ottawa on Oct. 10, 2007, and toiled in the American Hockey League until summoned back by the Senators last Friday.
"It is a good team in there [the dressing room] and it is kind of a mystery why we're at the bottom of the standings," he said. "But if we keep playing games like that I don't think we will be there for long."
Dean McAmmond had the decisive goal, unassisted, and Mike Fisher and Chris Phillips rounded out the scoring for the Senators (14-21-6).
Former Senators rearguard Joe Corvo replied with a power-play goal, but the Hurricanes (21-18-5) suffered their third straight setback.
"Things fall squarely on our shoulders — the guys who're playing in front of him [Ward] right now," Corvo said.
Ottawa opened the scoring 3:45 into the contest when Hurricanes defencemen Joni Pitkanen and Dennis Seidenberg converged on Spezza, leaving Heatley unguarded in the slot.
Spezza fed the puck to Heatley and he buried it for his first goal in nine games and 17th overall.
"Yeah, that wasn't a particularly well sorted out 2-on-2 was it?" Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice said. "We've had a lot of new partners and they're still working with each other."
McAmmond later ended a 21-game drought with a breakaway goal, his second of the season at the 11:09 mark.
Corvo cut Carolina's deficit to 2-1 less than nine minutes into the second period, but Vermette's fifth restored Ottawa's two-goal lead with 26 seconds left.
Fisher celebrated his 500th NHL game by scoring for the first time in 20 games, notching a power-play goal 8:29 into the third period.
"Any time it has been a while, it definitely feels good," he said. "I have just got to keep going."
Phillips completed the scoring with his fourth and 4:47 remaining.
With files from the Canadian Press