Three swipes of Dany Heatley's stick last night cleared the last of the cloud of doubt that has lingered over the Senators at Scotiabank Place.
The Senators winger struck for a hat trick in the second period to send the Senators on to a 7-2 win over the Maple Leafs, sweeping their home-and-home series.
Heatley's goals, bringing his season total to six (all in the last four games) broke open the game and brought his total against the Leafs to 19 goals in 20 career games.
Linemate Jason Spezza, skating maybe the best he has in a Senators uniform, added a goal and four assists (all in the second period, a team record) and defenceman Joe Corvo, looking better and better with each passing game after suffering a broken foot in the pre-season, had a goal and four assists.
The dynamic breakout game for Spezza, Heatley and Corvo means just about all the pieces are now in place and humming along quite nicely for the Senators, thank you.
There was some bad news for the Senators, however, as defencemen Wade Redden and Chris Phillips both left the game with lower-body injuries.
Their status will be updated today.
The victory was the Senators' third in a row and they've now scored 21 goals in the three games as their moribund offence, led by the emergence of the Spezza-Heatley duo, has caught fire.
The win was also their second in a row on home ice after opening the season with four straight losses.
Spezza is clearly improving after off-season back surgery. The improvement in his skating has been particularly evident in the last couple of games.
"The last two games my back has been feeling pretty good," said Spezza, who had surgery for a herniated disc in June. He's been having treatments and doing his exercises. "But it's not just that. It's time, too. The more time passes, the better you're going to feel."
KEY TO SUCCESS
Spezza is the key to Heatley's success, of course. He had the first assist on all three of Heatley's goals. The first, at 3:22 of the second, made it 3-0 for Ottawa as Spezza left Heatley with an easy tip in.
His second made it 5-2 after the Leafs showed some signs of life as Heatley hammered home a hard pass from the corner from Spezza.
The hat-trick goal came after a shot by Spezza was blocked, but Heatley hunted down the loose puck and snapped it behind Toronto goaltender Andrew Raycroft.
Corvo, who joined the Senators as a free agent last summer, has a wicked shot and he took eight of them -- easily the most on either team.
While it was Heatley who buried the Leafs last night, Senators centre Mike Fisher got the Senators off to a good start with his second goal in as many games against Toronto, the only goal of the first period.
He then set up Antoine Vermette for his fourth of the season to make it 2-0.
At the Ottawa end of the ice, goaltender Ray Emery was solid again, giving the Senators the stops they needed, like on break-ins by Toronto's Tomas Kaberle and Matt Stajan.
While fans might have been anticipating fireworks last night after Tuesday night's wild game in Toronto, both teams stuck to hockey last night.
Before leaving the game, Phillips delivered a couple of heavy hits on Leafs forward Darcy Tucker, Public Enemy No. 1 in Ottawa, and Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov decked him with a good shoulder check.
The Senators are in Boston tomorrow to face the Bruins.