Heatley eager for 50th

Dany Heatley (right) and Jason Spezza chat during Senators practice at Scotiabank Place on Monday....

Dany Heatley (right) and Jason Spezza chat during Senators practice at Scotiabank Place on Monday. (Sun Media/Blair Gable)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

NEW YORK -- If Dany Heatley scores his 50th goal into an empty net, he won't have an empty feeling about it.

"I don't really care. Whatever," said the Senators winger yesterday. "I don't think I've had too many empty-netters in my career, so I'll take a few here."

After scoring with the goalie pulled in back-to-back 5-2 victories over Montreal on Friday and the Islanders on Saturday, Heatley is just two goals shy of reaching the 50 plateau for the second straight season. He'll take aim at Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils tonight (7:30, pay-per-view).

Heatley, trying to become the first NHL player to have two straight 50-goal seasons since Pavel Bure accomplished the feat with the Florida Panthers in 2000-01, is putting up with a little ribbing from his teammates because of the empty-net goals.

"If we get into a position where there's an empty net, you know (Heatley's) going out there and he isn't passing," said Ottawa centre Mike Fisher with a wide smile.

And Heatley's linemates, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, are going to do everything possible to try to get the sniper the puck because they want to finish this quest.

"I don't know if I can (get Heatley the puck anymore). We're trying to get him the puck," said Spezza. "We're trying to get him to 50. If he can get two (tonight), we can stop and get this all over with.

'STRIKING DISTANCE'

"We want to get it over with as soon as possible. He's within striking distance and he's got a pretty good chance."

The Senators want Heatley to get 50 goals because they've seen his game mature, appreciate his efforts and rely on him in all situations.

"He's become a complete player. He can play defence. He can help in his own end," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "He's not afraid to kill a penalty and still he can score goals."

Murray believes Heatley, who has three shorthanded goals, has changed his game.

"I put him out (in the last minute) because I know he's real good at scoring into empty nets," said Murray with a laugh. "But No. 2, to win the hockey game. He has earned the right to be there at the end of a game because of his work and checking ability. I'm very confident when you put him out there, that we're not giving anything up defensively.

"If it works out for him, that he gets another chance, all the better for him. I would like to think he'll get a real chance this week to get to 50."

Two weeks ago in St. Louis, Heatley thought it was going to be tough to get to 50. Now he's not ruling it out.

"If it happens, it happens. That's the attitude I have to have," said Heatley. "Just keep shooting the puck and don't change anything. Hopefully, we'll get it. I always shoot the puck and that's what I'm going to do in the next two games."


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