Hasek passes first test

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:09 PM ET

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The Dominator brought the fans to their feet last night at the Broome County Arena. Not bad for starters.

Dominik Hasek stopped all 19 of shots he faced from the Pittsburgh Penguins in his debut in the Senators net, earning a standing ovation from the 4,611 on hand as he headed to the dressing room.

By the time the Senators secured a 3-0 pre-season victory, Hasek was sitting in the corner well-rested, but he played a big role and, at times, looked like he hadn't missed a beat.

Hasek got help from the line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and rookie Brandon Bochenski. Heatley and Spezza had three points each while Bochenski contributed a goal and assist as the Senators scored their second straight victory.

"I got what what I wanted from (Hasek)," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "That was a good first workout for him. He played well for us and I was happy with what I saw out there. He was really good."

It may only be the pre-season, but Hasek needs this time to get ready and regain the confidence that helped him lead the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2002 and made him an NHL MVP.

The 40-year-old Hasek, who didn't have to face the likes of Mario Lemieux, Mark Recchi, John LeClair, Ziggy Palffy, Sergei Gonchar or rookie sensation Sidney Crosby, downplayed the performance.

"I felt pretty good for the first time, but I know they didn't have their guys like Mario and LeClair in the lineup,'' he said. ''I faced a lot of power-play time and that was important. The good thing is I got lots of work and that is good for me.

"This was definitely special for me, but it was on the road. I'll probably be more nervous when I play Toronto (tomorrow at the Corel Centre) because it will be my first start in Ottawa. That's going to be a lot of fun for me to play there."

The Senators were just happy to see Hasek standing up to the shooters, diving across the net to make big saves, throwing out his glove and getting his pad out to frustrate the mostly young Pittsburgh lineup.

Erik Christensen had his chances as did defenceman Dick Tarnstrom. Former Senators tough guy Andre Roy was robbed in all alone in the first as Hasek got his glove out.

Hasek even stuck around a little longer than expected by playing 33:46 before rookie Kelly Guard took over and stopped 11 shots to complete the shutout. Hasek was supposed to leave at the midway point, but stayed long enough to kill a power play.

"It's always good when you don't allow any goals," said Hasek. "We had a plan for me to leave halfway through, but I wanted to stick around for the power play.''

You might as well just pencil Bochenski into a spot on the team right now. He had his second goal of the pre-season by opening the scoring at 16:21 of the second on Heatley's rebound.

"Heatley could have had five,'' said Murray. ''He was shooting the puck well and Spezza was doing a good job getting it to him. That line was playing well."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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