Force was with the Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

A lot of camouflage was found in the stands at Scotiabank Place last night, but nothing could hide the fact the Senators were the much better team.

The Senators buried the Washington Capitals 7-1 on the second annual Canadian Forces Appreciation Night with 1,500 of Canada's military personnel, in their combat fatigues, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper on hand to take it all in as part of the sellout crowd of 19,346.

The win over the Caps, 14th in the Eastern Conference, was the Senators' third in a row and allowed Ottawa to creep within a point of the Carolina Hurricanes atop the Eastern Conference (84-83) with both teams having played 58 games.

The Sens looked like a much more cohesive unit last night, operating in five-man units, exiting their zone crisply and, at the other end of the ice, shooting every chance they got.

"Our defence moved the puck, we had some speed (last night) and we buried our chances," said centre Mike Fisher, who opened the scoring just 64 seconds into the game. "We played four pretty good lines and kept rolling them."

Seven different Senators scored -- including two more short-handed goals -- as Ottawa appeared to have rediscovered the scoring touch it showed earlier this season.

Antoine Vermette and Peter Schaefer scored the short-handed goals in the Senators' four-goal second period, bringing the clubs' NHL-leading total to 19 shorties.

Fisher had his 19th of the season and defenceman Wade Redden scored his ninth, on the power play, for a 2-0 lead after the first period.

Jason Spezza, with his 15th, and Brian Pothier, with his third, both on the power play, scored in the second as Capitals starter Olaf Kolzig was chased from the net after Pothier made it 6-0.

Bryan Smolinski scored in the third on backup Brent Johnson.

'KEPT WORKING'

"Even in the third period, we kept working, doing things well and coming up the ice together," said Redden (the Senators had a lapse in the third against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, giving up three goals in a 4-3 win). "We had everybody on ice on the same page."

If you want to beat the Caps, you have to shut down rookie Alexander Ovechkin. The leading freshman scorer (37 goals, 70 points) has 40 more points than the Caps' next leading scorer, Dainius Zubrus.

Ovechkin got his 38th of the season, but it wasn't until it was 7-0. He snapped home a wrister off a faceoff with the Caps short-handed at 14:53 of the third to spoil Ray Emery's shutout bid.

Ovechkin didn't get much up to that point as Senators coach Bryan Murray used big defenceman Zdeno Chara and partner Chris Phillips in the key matchup of the game.

"The two guys who were on the ice 95% of the time against him did a heck of a job," said Murray. "But he's a dynamic player and he finally found a way to get one."

Emery faced 31 shots as he picked up his third straight win.


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