Big guns lead Senators

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

On Canadian Forces Appreciation Night, the Senators showed off some of their artillery.

The big guns -- Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza -- all scored in the Senators' 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals last night at Scotiabank Place with about 1,500 members of Canada's armed forces on hand in the crowd of 19,178.

Caps sharpshooter Alexander Ovechkin scored his league-leading 32nd goal.

"It was a hard-fought battle. We played well," said a satisfied Senators coach Bryan Murray, who saw his team bounce back from a loss to the Montreal Canadiens less than 24 hours earlier. The Senators could take a few things out of the game other than the two points, which allowed them to claim fourth place in the Eastern Conference from the idle Habs.

The Senators had a healthy complement of players for the first time since before Christmas, including a couple of faces that haven't been in the lineup much lately -- backup goaltender Martin Gerber and forward Mike Fisher.

Fisher was making a bit of a surprising return from a knee injury which had kept him out for the last 14 games.

Fisher had been hoping to be back Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but his knee felt strong.

He played on a line with Spezza and Schaefer, led the team in hits with five and drew an assist on Spezza's 20th goal of the season late in the first period which gave the Senators a 2-0 lead. Alfredsson had opened the scoring with a skipper through the legs of Caps goaltender Olaf Kolzig, one of his game-high nine shots on the night.

The slow rebuilding of Gerber's confidence continued as he won his third-straight start and has now won five of his last six decisions to lift his record to 8-9-1.

He had little chance on Ovechkin's goal which came on a crisp shot to the top corner on the glove side, cutting Ottawa's lead to 2-1.

"They always had people at the net looking for deflections," said Gerber, who faced 37 shots. "I thought it was a very important game for everybody, not just me, especially after the loss (Monday) night. It was really big for the whole team to bounce back."

"He played solid," said Murray of Gerber. "They had some chances. He got the rebounds. He had a good performance."

Ovechkin was more of an influence than he was in his last visit to Ottawa (one assist). His ongoing battle with Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov was a good one. It's a battle we can hopefully look forward to for years.

The game marked the first time this season Spezza, Alfredsson and Heatley all scored in the same game.

Washington enforcer Donald Brashear pulled the Caps within one goal at 3:02 of the third.

A win (by one goal, no less) with the backup in net, a full lineup, some good special teams play and the big boys doing what the big boys are supposed to do ... a close game and a good night for the home side. 


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