On the cutting edge

Ottawa Senators' Joshua Hennessy celebrates a goal against the Montreal Canadiens in the first...

Ottawa Senators' Joshua Hennessy celebrates a goal against the Montreal Canadiens in the first period at Scotiabank Place on Thursday evening. (Ottawa Sun/Blair Gable)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

The auditions are over -- the Senators are about to roll out their regular-season lineup.

The Sens wrapped up their home pre-season schedule with an easy 5-2 win over Montreal last night at Scotiabank Place, but some difficult decisions lie ahead.

Forwards Alexei Kaigorodov, Denis Hamel and Josh Hennessy were given their final chance to make an impression before the Senators close out their exhibition schedule tomorrow night in Montreal.

"We want to get (Antoine) Vermette in the lineup and we want to get (Brian) McGrattan another game, so at least two of them won't be playing (against the Habs)," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "Now, we have to decide what the needs are for this hockey club."

Andrej Meszaros led the charge last night with a two-goal performance, while Chris Neil, Peter Schaefer and Mike Fisher also scored for the Senators.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson had three assists as Ottawa GM John Muckler and Murray prepare to meet to decide who will be on the club's roster Wednesday when the Senators open against the Maple Leafs.

"I don't have a problem with Hennessy. We used him in a fourth-line checking role and that's what we wanted him to do," said Murray. "As for Kaigorodov, he needs to play with a guy like Alfredsson, but he's not going to get that chance right now."

The final decisions won't be easy because the club also has Rockland native Serge Payer, who played for Murray with the Florida Panthers.

Hamel, 29, has scored five goals in the pre-season, but he's been passed over at previous NHL camps for different reasons. Hennessy has had his moments, but hasn't been able to put the puck in the net.

Kaigorodov was pencilled into the No. 2 centre spot, but he's not ready for that role. If he doesn't go to Binghamton, it's because the club likes his potential.

Fisher, who has six points in two games playing alongside Alfredsson and Schaefer, will start the season as the No. 2 centre, behind Jason Spezza.

"You get points in the pre-season because sometimes teams aren't playing their best lineups or there's not as much intensity," said Alfredsson. "But it's been good playing with them. We feel comfortable together and we've had some success."

Despite looking bad on Montreal's second goal, by Tomas Plekanec, goaltender Martin Gerber turned in a solid performance with 31 saves.

"It was an adjustment for me coming over here with the new home and new team, but I'm starting to feel more comfortable," said Gerber.

"I felt pretty good (last night) and I'm starting to feel better in every game."


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