It's Brian's song for Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

ATLANTA -- It doesn't appear that there's much that can disrupt the Senators' momentum early this season.

They continued their undefeated roll last night with a third-string goaltender and that elusive quantity, secondary scoring. Some pretty good coaching, too.

Rookie goaltender Brian Elliott, getting his first NHL start last night, gave Martin Gerber a break and the Senators a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers with a solid debut.

Elliott, 22 and regarded as the Senators' top goaltending prospect, was good -- very good -- especially in the third period when the Senators were trying to hold the lead.

His night's work was 28 saves and no shame in being beaten for the only Atlanta goal by Ilya Kovalchuk.

"You're nervous ... it's your first NHL game, but it's the game you've prepared your whole life for," said Elliott. "I was prepared."

Elliot's solid work helped the Sens run their record to 5-0 heading into tonight's meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place.

It's good for the Senators to know Elliott, picked 291st overall in the 2003 draft, can play that well.

Coach John Paddock, knowing the Senators' struggles in Philips Arena, was looking for a way to sharpen his players' focus.

"I don't think we've been complacent, but we haven't played well here in two years," he said. "Something like (starting a rookie in nets) gets the players' attention. I thought we needed something like that."

"Smart move," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "The coach looks like a genius."

"I don't want to say you play a little harder for him, but you know he's going to be nervous," said Chris Kelly, who scored just 74 seconds into the game. "I thought he played a great game.

"They've got some guys who can score and he made it look easy."

The Thrashers played without Marian Hossa (groin).

It's an encouraging sign that the Senators could win a game without a guy named Dan being the hero.

Alfredsson and Dany Heatley had scored nine of the Senators' 13 goals going into last night, but it was Kelly, Antonine Vermette and Joe Corvo who scored last night.


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