Cats in the cradle

Dany Heatley congratulates goalie Ray Emery after he shut out the Florida Panthers 6-0 last night....

Dany Heatley congratulates goalie Ray Emery after he shut out the Florida Panthers 6-0 last night. Heatley had two goals. (SUN/Sean Kilpatrick)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

There was a lot to like about the Senators' 6-0 win over the toothless Florida Panthers last night.

But the club’s climb above the break-even mark (13-12-1) for the first time since Oct. 26, and its sixth win in its last seven games, was tempered by a worrying sight at the end of the first period for the crowd of 17,814 at Scotiabank Place.

Senators star defenceman Wade Redden skated to the bench with just over a minute to go in the first period and disappeared down the hallway to the Ottawa dressing room with Dr. Don Chow, the team physician, accompanying him. He appeared to be favouring his right shoulder.

He did not return with what the club announced as an upper body injury.

Redden has had a rough start to the season, battling a groin injury from training camp and was just finally starting to look like he was getting healthy and rounding into his world-class form.

His condition will be updated today.

“He got hit into the wall and it’s his upper body,” said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "When he was sore, we pulled him out real quick.”

The rest of the Senators, led by a pair of goals by gunner Dany Heatley, made short work of the Panthers, who were shut out for the third-straight game. Senators goaltender Ray Emery stopped 31 shots for his first shutout of the season, the fourth of his career and his first since last March 19.

Heatley scored the first two goals of the game, his team-leading 15th and 16th of the season, to send the Senators out in front before the game was nine minutes old.

Heatley now has five goals in the last two games against the Panthers after posting a hat trick in last Friday’s 6-4 win in Florida.

Ottawa’s Mike Fisher added a shorthanded goal, the Senators’ third of the season, before the first period was out.

Chris Kelly (his fourth), Andrej Meszaros (his fourth) and Antoine Vermette (his ninth) scored in the second period to make it 6-0.

"It's been a struggle," said Murray of getting over .500. "Starting the way we did and getting behind the 8-ball."

Florida goaltender Alex Auld was given the hook by coach Jacques Martin after Meszaros’ goal, which came when he tipped in a shot from the point by Senators defenceman Chris Phillips at 6:01 of the second.

It was typical of the way things went on this night for the Panthers, who didn’t have much to do with controlling the traffic in front of their goaltenders.

Auld was replaced by veteran Ed Belfour, the old Senators antagonist from his days with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Vermette welcomed him to the game by jumping on a rebound off a shot by Meszaros and roofing the puck at 16:10 of the second.

Heatley had opened the scoring on the power play, corralling a rebound off the backboards and snapping it behind Auld at 2:37 of the first. He made it 2-0 at 8:52 when he took a pass from defenceman Tom Preissing off a rush and blasted a shot from the circle by Auld.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson had an assist on Vermette’s goal and was in a feisty mood, getting into it with Florida forward Stephen Weiss on a couple of occasions. He was penalized for slashing Weiss at the end of the second and picked up an extra minor when the two got into it again in the third. That exchange left the crowd chanting the captain’s name as he headed for the box.

It was a good night for the Senators, but it remains to be seen what kind of morning it will be today once the seriousness of Redden’s injury is weighed.

The Senators host the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night.


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