Shootout spells relief

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Bryan Murray didn't even look to his top guns last night when it seemed he needed them the most.

The names of the goal scorers for the Senators last night were hardly the household ones you've become accustomed to hearing.

Yes, the Senators spoiled the Montreal Canadiens' home opener at the Bell Centre with a 3-2 shootout victory, but they weren't led by the guys Murray called on the carpet to perform just 24 hours earlier. And that's why, when it came to fill out the lineup card for the shootout, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley were left off the list.

"Our big guys looked sluggish," said Murray. "They weren't getting the chance to do it (in the shootout), I can tell you that."

Instead, it was Denis Hamel and Chris Kelly who scored for the Senators to end their three-game skid, while Ray Emery made big stops as the club hung on for a victory.

In the shootout, Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher scored to secure the win.

"We just needed a win," said Dean McAmmond, who was Murray's third shootout choice. "It doesn't matter if it was their home opener. We just needed to find a way to get a victory. It doesn't matter how we got it done. It's just good that we were able to get it done.

"This is something we can build on. We just have to go from here. It would have been nice to beat them cleanly. That wasn't the case. We kind of got caught at the end, but we were able to get it done."

It was Hamel, the club's pre-season leader in scoring with five goals and six points, who got the Senators started with a backhander past Cristobal Huet at 7:07 of the first.

Then, following a shorthanded effort by Montreal's Chris Higgins that tied it, Kelly restored the Sens' lead with a tap-in goal on a setup by Patrick Eaves to put Ottawa ahead at 13:49. Sergei Samsonov scored at 16:47 of the third to tie it 2-2.

"It's good to get the win. We really needed that one," said Vermette. "It would have been tough to come out here with the loss and this gives us a few days to work on some things. This was a step in the right direction."

The guys expected to carry the offensive load for the Senators -- you know, guys like Spezza, Alfredsson, Heatley, Peter Schaefer and Wade Redden -- continued to struggle.

They weren't surprised not to be selected for the shootout.

"That's the coach's decision. We just have to do a better job," said Alfredsson.

An area of major concern continues to be the power play. The Senators are having a difficult time getting a sustained attack -- let alone score a goal -- and that's even with Alfredsson back on the point.

Ottawa is just 1-for-30 in the first five games of the season and it was handed golden opportunities against the Habs, including back-to-back chances with the man advantage in the second.

"We're just trying to do too much and I don't know why that is," said Murray.

Starting ahead of the struggling Martin Gerber, Emery didn't hurt his case to play more.

He made some big stops, including a point-blank effort on Alexander Perezhogin in the third.

"It felt good to get the win," said Emery.


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