Worrying about Alfie

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

The Senators had plenty to crow about last night.

Antoine Vermette broke out of an eight-game scoring slump.

Randy Robitaille scored a goal, just a few hours after his wife Joanne delivered the couple's third child, daughter Mallory.

And Ottawa ran roughshod over the Carolina Hurricanes, thumping the visitors 5-1.

But the Senators took a big gulp when captain Daniel Alfredsson left the game early in the second for "precautionary reasons" with what a club spokesman described as a hip flexor injury. On the heels of Dany Heatley's separated shoulder, the Senators have their fingers crossed.

"It's a tough time of year. We're going into the all-star break and we want to make sure we're winning," said Senators centre Jason Spezza. "Every guy stepped up. We lost Alfie and guys like (Vermette) stepped up and got the job done.

"We don't want (Alfredsson's injury) to be long term. No matter how good your team is, you lose a guy like that out of your lineup and it's going to hurt you."

Mike Fisher and Spezza also scored for the Senators.

Senators coach John Paddock wouldn't rule out Alfredsson playing tomorrow at home against Tampa Bay.

"He said after the first period he was sore and he aggravated a bit in the corner (in the second)," said Paddock. "I would hope (he wouldn't miss another game), but that's not absolute."

Eric Staal's third-period goal was the only shot to beat Senators goalie Martin Gerber, who recorded his second straight win over his former team.

GERBER SOLID

Gerber had to make some quality saves against the Hurricanes, who have been having their share of problems.Since scoring a 5-3 victory over the Senators on Oct. 1, the Hurricanes have been outscored 11-1 by Ottawa in their next two meetings.

Paddock had called on some of the club's role players to step up with Heatley out and the message got through to Vermette. He scored his second of the night on a breakaway when he was able to backhand the rebound off Cam Ward's initial save home on the glove side.

"(Vermette) was really using his speed," said Paddock. "If he went in straight lines all the time, he would get a lot of scoring chances."

"It's nice to get the win and contribute," said Vermette. "We want to get back on track after losing two games in a row. We wanted to make sure we had a good effort."

After spending the morning with his wife, Robitaille delivered his seventh goal of the season into a virtually empty net after a perfect feed from Spezza at 13:32 of the second.

"I got a puck for her after the game," said Robitaille. "Maybe I should have more kids, I'll get more goals."

The Senators host Tampa Bay tomorrow at 7 p.m. before opening a three-game road trip Sunday night in Philadelphia.


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