The Senators made a triumph return to Scotiabank Place last night for the first time since their ride to the Stanley Cup final in June.
All right, it's only the pre-season, but the Senators started off on the right foot at home with their big guns firing on all cylinders in a 5-4 victory over the Capitals.
A thriller? No, but the Senators mounted a second-period comeback from a two-goal deficit and on the strength of Dany Heatley's winner at 5:30 of the third, the club improved its exhibition record to 2-0 as they prepare to face the Canadiens tomorrow at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Rookie Nick Foligno, Jason Spezza, Chris Kelly and captain Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators, who erased a 3-1 deficit.
Heatley's winner at 4:20 came with the club holding a two-man advantage in third and Kelly put it away at 6:09 as Ottawa took a 5-3 lead.
Trying to show he's ready for the NHL, Foligno, who was called out by Paddock earlier in camp, made his presence felt at 12:08 of the second by scoring his second of the preseason. He also picked up an assist on Kelly's goal.
After taking a breakaway pass from Antoine Vermette, Foligno backhanded the puck by Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig on the glove side to tie the game 3-3 going to the third. Foligno has a two goals and three assists in two exhibition games.
"I just wanted him to keep his game simple," Senators coach John Paddock said of Foligno.
Making his second start of the exhibition season, Martin Gerber's shutout string ended at 16:40 of the first period. Washington's Chris Clark opened the scoring by picking up a rebound in front to give the Caps an early lead.
Gerber can't be faulted for the other two goals he gave up on 18 shots. Tom Poti's at 7:34 of the second was a bullet that Gerber never saw and Thomas Fleishmann's attempted pass bounced off Chris Phillips' skate at 19:28 of the first to give the Caps a 2-1 lead.
Rookie Brian Elliott replaced Gerber about midway throught the game.
Give Elliott credit as well. The club's top prospect in net came into the game with the score 3-3 and made enough saves -- with only Alexander Ovechkin scoring late in the third -- to give the Senators a chance to win.
With only 11 days to the start of the regular season, the staff still has a lot left to decide. Patrick Eaves played on the right side of Heatley and Spezza, but didn't get a lot of opportunity because of the power plays. Kelly will also play with Dynamic Duo during the pre-season.
"It will probably be a little bit of a revolving thing and it's no secret that (Alfredsson) will be back there at some point," said Paddock. "We'll see how the games play out and certain situations within the game play out when it starts to mean something."