|Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller (#30) watches as Ottawa Senators Chris Phillips (#4) shot goes past him during third period NHL action at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario Canada Saturday Nov. 18, 2006. The Senators went on to win the game 4-1(CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward) CANADA
Well, it looks like Dany Heatley, at least, got the memo.
The Senators winger played with the edge too many of his teammates have been lacking lately and delivered the winning goal in last night's 4-1 win over the first-place Buffalo Sabres.
It was the Senators' second win in four days over the league-leading Sabres and will ease a little of the tension that has engulfed the Senators' camp this week with rumours of major changes because of the club's woeful start.
Well, the Senators have now won 2-out-of-3 and came from behind both times to do it. They moved their record to 8-11-1 in front of a crowd of 19,770 at Scotiabank Place.
Given the circumstances, it might have been the best game Heatley has played for the Senators in the little over a year he's been with them. He scored 50 goals last year and last night's was his 11th of the season, but as far as big goals go, that was one of his biggest.
It gave a team with a fragile psyche a huge lift when it needed it most.
After his power-play goal early in the third, Heatley capped his night by intercepting a pass with the Senators short-handed and sending defenceman Chris Phillips, just out of the box, in on a breakaway.
Phillips beat Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller for a 4-1 lead.
"I haven't done so well in practice this year," said Phillips. "I've taken so many penalties, I was bound to get a pass. We've been watching a lot of video lately and most of it is the stuff we have to work on. It will be nice to come to the rink and see some stuff that we did well. Now, we have to build on it."
Heatley gave the Senators the lead just 82 seconds into the third period on the power play, making the Sabres pay for undisciplined play after a high hit by Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov on Jochen Hecht. Buffalo's Jason Pominville went after Volchenkov and was penalized for cross-checking.
Eleven seconds later, Heatley slammed home a pass from Jason Spezza at the edge of the crease for his team-leading 11th goal.
Heatley played last night with the urgency this situation demands, going hard to the net and handing out a big hit on Buffalo defenceman Brian Campbell on the forecheck early in the game.
JAWS WITH PETERS
Heatley was jawing with Sabres players, including tough guy Andrew Peters.
Antoine Vermette gave the Senators some breathing room at 14:50 when he backhanded a shot through Miller's legs.
Miller, back in the net after missing five games with a muscle strain, was spectacular, especially in the third when the Senators enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play.
The Senators scored the only goal of the second period -- by Peter Schaefer -- to tie the game 1-1, shaking off a bothersome trend that has seen them struggle in the middle 20 minutes of games.
Going into last night, the Senators had been outshot in second periods 231-211 and had barely outscored their opponents 23-22.
Maxim Afinogenov opened the scoring, unleashing a low shot that got past Senators goaltender Ray Emery.