Sens steal Crosby show

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

Sidney Crosby was upstaged by the Senators last night.

A crowd of 19,358 packed the Corel Centre to see Crosby's first NHL game on Canadian soil, but it was Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley who were the star attractions in a 4-1 Senators' win over the Penguins.

While "Sid The Kid" was ordinary, Heatley and Spezza chipped in with a goal and an assist apiece as Ottawa improved its perfect pre-season record to 6-0.

"It doesn't matter what time of year it is, we want to win games," said Spezza, who scored what turned out to be the winner at 11:37 of the second period. "That's good for our confidence to keep winning games. We want to be ready for the (regular) season."

Antoine Vermette and Christoph Schubert also scored for Ottawa.

Though there was plenty of anticipation about Crosby's first game in Canada, he looked like an 18-year-old still trying to find his way with the start of the regular season less than a week away.

Playing on a line with John LeClair and Mark Recchi, Crosby didn't register anything on the score sheet, hit a crossbar and was minus-2.

"It was nice to play here," Crosby said. "We had our chances, we just weren't able to cash in on our opportunities."

Meanwhile, some Senators are running out of opportunities as cuts are expected to be made today.

So with Ottawa's regular-season opener set for next Wednesday in Toronto, Senators coach Bryan Murray decided to make a few changes to get a look at everybody last night.

That meant winger Martin Havlat, who hasn't looked comfortable on the left side with Bryan Smolinski and Daniel Alfredsson, moved back to the right with centre Mike Fisher and Chris Neil on left wing.

And they were flying. Havlat hit the post behind Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the first and in the third, while Neil had his stick chopped away late in the first on a scoring chance. Fisher made a nifty move on Noah Welch in the second, but Fleury was able to come up with the stop.

"I spoke with (Havlat yesterday) and I told him I need more from him," said Murray. "He told me he felt he would be more comfortable on the right side."

The Senators wanted to give Vermette a chance to play with skilled types in Smolinski and Alfredsson. It resulted in a pretty goal by Vermette, who backhanded the puck through Fleury's legs on a pass from Smolinski at 18:28 of the second.

"I've been used in more of a defensive role through camp and I've been more of an offensive player through my career," said Vermette. "When you get a chance to play with guys like this, you've got to take advantage of the opportunity."

Murray said he will sit down with GM John Muckler following practice today and some players will get the bad news that they've been cut.

"There are going to be some guys who are disappointed and they have every right to be because they've had good camps," said Murray.


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