Sens find power, finally

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Eric Cairns isn't a guy to get too many power plays fired up.

But the big, tough Florida Panthers defenceman lit a spark last night -- for the Senators' sputtering unit.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson scored twice in 20 seconds with Cairns in the box in the third period as the Senators squeezed out a 4-1 win at the Corel Centre.

The loss spoiled former Senators coach Jacques Martin's return to the Corel Centre and stretched the Panthers' losing streak to 10 games.

After being scored on in the last minute of regulation or in overtime in five of those games, the Panthers squandered another lead last night, having nursed a 1-0 lead for most of the game.

"We knew with them losing a lot lately, especially in the third period, we had the upper hand," said Alfredsson, who set a club record with his pair (the previous record for fastest two goals by one player was 31 seconds by Mark Lamb in 1993). "That quick? Not bad," said Alfredsson.

The goals broke the Senators' power play out of a 1-for-27 funk.

After Ottawa's Bryan Smolinski had tied it early in the third off a beautiful feed from Chris Neil, Cairns was sent off for holding at 11:36. Alfredsson snapped home his 17th goal of the season at 12:04 off a play drawn up by Senators coach Bryan Murray earlier in the day.

"We had a long meeting about the power play (yesterday) morning. (Murray) told us we had to get on the same page instead of ad-libbing so much," said Alfredsson. "That play was straight out his playbook. You've got to give him credit for that one."

Alfredsson, on a back-door play, one-timed a pass from Jason Spezza to the top corner over the glove of Florida goalie Roberto Luongo.

"(Luongo's) arm must have been tired," said Murray, "after all the shots we had on him (45)."

Cairns spouted off as he left the penalty box and was slapped with an unsportsmanlike-conduct minor. Alfredsson then blew a shot through Luongo's pads to make it 3-1.

Antoine Vermette scored Ottawa's fourth goal on a breakaway.

"I should have kept my mouth shut," said Cairns. "That is life in the new NHL. You've got to watch your step.

"You have to watch your P's and Q's out there."

The Senators, now 14-3, host the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night.


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