The perfect combination

Dany Heatley has been a great addition to the Ottawa Senators following his trade from the Atlanta...

Dany Heatley has been a great addition to the Ottawa Senators following his trade from the Atlanta Thrashers over the summer for Marian Hossa. (Ottawa Sun File/Tony Caldwell)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Bryan Murray has been around the NHL for a lot of years -- 25 to be exact -- but he's getting a chance this season to see and experience some things for the first time.

Having a player like forward Dany Heatley, for instance.

"I don't know if I have had a power forward like him," said Murray, who invoked the name of Cam Neely, who defined the position and was inducted into the Hall of Fame Monday, when asked about Heatley.

"Cam was different on the forecheck," said Murray of Neely, who played a much more physically punishing game than Heatley.

"But there aren't many guys like (Heatley) in the NHL."

Heatley used his size and strength on his first of two goals Saturday night, sweeping around Buffalo Sabres defencemen Teppo Numminen and Dmitri Kalinin and snapping a shot to the far side on goaltender Martin Biron.

His second goal, which came short-handed, was typical Heatley: He swept in behind defenceman Zdeno Chara and one-touched his pass into the net for his 15th goal of the season.

Heatley is hockey's version of baseball's closer. He comes in at the end and is overpowering in sealing the deal.

It's remarkable that a guy who has had such a big impact on games -- he has had a point in every game he's played as a Senator so far -- touches the puck as little as he does.

He played 19 minutes and 48 seconds Saturday night, tops among Senators forwards.

The puck was on his stick for, oh, maybe 4.8 seconds of that.

"He's better not having to handle the puck a lot. Sometimes he tries to carry it across the blue line and make a play, but it's much better when the puck comes to him," said Murray.

"It's better to let (his linemates) carry the puck and let him unload."

Senators centre Jason Spezza and Heatley are the perfect combination. Spezza likes to carry the puck and set the table.

Heatley likes to chow down.

"I carry it a lot and he finds the holes so well," said Spezza. "That's the reason why we mesh. He doesn't need it and I like to have it."

"Right now, things are clicking for us," said Heatley. "We have to make sure to let things happen."

The two are fast friends off the ice, too, which helps contribute to their chemistry on it.

"We've been a good match," said Spezza. "You can just tell when you're going to get along with somebody. He brings a lot to our room."

NOTES: Heatley was +4 Saturday night, giving him a league-leading +20 on the season. Spezza and Senators defenceman Wade Redden are second at +18 ... Murray was looking for some improvement from the power play. It went 1-for-5 Saturday night with the second unit getting the goal. It was Mike Fisher's first power-play goal of the year ... Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, the NHL's leading scorer going into yesterday's games, picked up his third game-winning goal of the season Saturday night, one more than Spezza and Antoine Vermette, who makes his goals count. Two out of three so far this season are game winners ... That 9-0 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers Saturday night was the worst suffered by the Carolina Hurricanes since they moved to North Carolina from Hartford. The 'Canes, who visit the Corel Centre tomorrow night, saw their nine-game winning streak snapped ... The 'Canes are one of only two teams to have beaten the Senators this season, scoring a 3-2 win in Carolina Oct. 24.


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