Senators burn Atlanta

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:05 PM ET

Bryan Murray saved his best move for last yesterday.

Unhappy with the production from the club's top line, the Senators coach shifted Dean McAmmond alongside Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley and the result was the winning goal in a 5-3 victory over the Thrashers.

McAmmond replaced rugged winger Chris Neil in the final 10 minutes and scored the winner as the Senators won for only the third time in 22 games (3-17-2) this season when trailing after two periods.

"You try not to change too much," said McAmmond, who scored the winner on a pass from Spezza at 15:40 of the third. "You just try to get the puck to those guys as much as you can. Spezza had it and he just made a great pass.

"I just tried to find that spot (in the slot). I've had a few shots from that part of the ice in the last few games, but that one just found the net. In the third, when we had to come back from behind, that had a playoff atmosphere. We played a bit more desperate."

ADDED SPEED

Murray said he had to make a change. Earlier, Mike Comrie had tied it up at 10:05 of the third while Chris Kelly, Peter Schaefer and Mike Fisher also scored for the Senators, who have won four straight games.

"I didn't think the line was going great (with Neil). I wanted some speed there," said Murray, who is one win shy of 600 for his career. "I wanted a guy who was really responsible. Chris Neil had done a good job for us physically and going to the net, but the line wasn't getting any results.

"At that point in time, I thought (McAmmond) would go in there and give us a little spark with speed, and he's played really well for us lately. I'm just glad that everything worked out."

Murray wasn't pleased with the way this game was played physically. He accused Atlanta of targeting Spezza by having defenceman Andy Sutton hit the talented centre at every turn and also felt goalie Martin Gerber was also the victim of some unnecessary abuse.

SPEZZA A TARGET

"I must have been (a target)," said Spezza. "It seemed like Sutton was punching me and taking runs at me a little bit, but I've just got to fight through it and try to get the puck. It's part of the game, I guess.

"Teams are going to do that kind of stuff. It's up to the (officials) to protect guys. (Sutton) came after me (in the first) and I gave him a shot back. After I did that, he kind of settled down. Teams are going to try to get us off our game and we just have to be persistent."

The Senators were fortunate their goal scorers picked it up in the third and Gerber settled down enough to get the win. He was run by Jim Slater in the first, then didn't look good on goals by Atlanta's Steve McCarthy, Glen Metropolit and Slava Kozlov.

GERBER RUN BY THRASHERS

"We talk about Ray Emery, and everybody cut him up for what he did, but I thought there were two occasions that (Gerber) got run," said Murray. "He got run into the net and there was no attempt to avoid contact with him. (Another time) he went out to play the puck and he got two-handed by (Scott) Mellanby."


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