Eaves all right on left

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

HALIFAX -- It just might be some of the most valuable real estate in the NHL.

Skating in that spot to the left of Senators Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley is like getting a penthouse lease and maybe a ticket to the Top 10 in scoring in the NHL.

Patrick Eaves got his shot last night and if he didn't completely move in, he at least has the moving truck backing up towards the door.

Eaves had a goal and an assist in the Senators' 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and homecoming boy Sidney Crosby at the Metro Centre and looked right at home to the left of Spezza and Heatley.

"We were clicking (last) night," said Eaves. "The puck wasn't bouncing for us in the intrasquad games, but it worked out for us (last) night. Everyone wants to start strong and ramp it up from there for the regular season. I wanted to have a good start and the whole line had a good start."

Heatley had a pair of goals and Spezza a pair of assists in the win as the Senators opened their exhibition schedule.

Eaves, the 22-year-old sophomore, made it 3-0 in the second period, following goals by Heatley and prospect Cody Bass.

Following up on a shot by defenceman Thomas Kudelka, Eaves fired in a rebound behind Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

That came after he had a couple of very strong shifts, flying around the Penguins zone, springing pucks loose for Spezza and Heatley and handing out a couple of very solid checks along the boards.

His hit into the end boards on defenceman Ryan Whitney in the third brought a rise from the crowd. Shortly after that, he helped set up Heatley on the power play for his second on the night to make it 4-1.

"I thought (Eaves) played real well," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "End to end, I thought the line played well. He's got real good hands and he's smart. There's some question if a young player can play there all year, but he looks like he could fit."

Denis Hamel added an empty net goal to round out the Senators scoring.

Local boys Crosby and Stephen Dixon scored the goals for a very young Pittsburgh lineup.

Eaves also got the tap on the shoulder to help kill a 5-on-3 disadvantage early in the first period.

In the Senators' end of the ice, goaltender Ray Emery was strong in turning back the 20 shots he faced in the little more than a half game he worked -- including a 5-on-3 disadvantage -- before being relieved by Kelly Guard.

"It was hot out there. Everyone was melting a bit," said Emery. "I got tired near the end. But I got to see some shots and get a feel for some of the new guys back there. Some of the guys I hadn't seen before played well in front of me."

Guard was beaten in the third by Dixon on a setup by Crosby, which gave the crowd something to cheer about and Crosby scored himself to make it 4-2 on a crazy deflection late in the third.

Crosby also got into it with Spezza in the third. The two came together just inside the Pittsburgh blue line after a whistle, with Crosby jabbing Spezza with his stick.

The two jawed for a while before being separated by officials.

"We were just playing the game and sometimes sticks go where they're not supposed to go," said Spezza. "We were just talking about where he was going to go eat after the game.

"It was nice to get a win. It puts everybody in a better mood. It was just an exhibition game, but it's good to get the legs going."

The Senators host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.


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