Kelly Senators' hero

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

SUNRISE, FLA. -- Chris Kelly had a couple of reasons to smile last night at the BankAtlantic Center.

First off, he finally scored his first goal of the season. Secondly, it turned out to be the game winner.

"It was a good day for me ... maybe not as good as Alfie's," joked Kelly.

There were laughs all around the Senators' dressing room after Kelly's marker capped a third-period comeback in a 2-1 victory over the Panthers that stretched Ottawa's winning streak to two games.

Only hours after captain Daniel Alfredsson signed a contract extension that will keep him in Ottawa for the rest of his NHL career, the Senators showed they still have plenty of fight in them as they poured it on in the third, getting a power-play goal from Dany Heatley before Kelly's winner.

"The puck was just kind of lying there. I think (Jarkko Ruutu) and (Chris Neil) both had a couple of whacks at it, but I just happened to be the last one to get in there," said Kelly, who scored the winner on Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun at 10:20 of the third.

PLAYERS BONDING

"(Losing games) was not the start we wanted to get off to, but we did and this road trip has been good for us.

"We've got to bond a little more and we showed that we can play the game for a full 60 minutes. We played well as a team and that's what's most important."

Ottawa goalie Alex Auld, who made 25 saves, kept the team in the game through two periods and likely earned himself a fifth straight start when the Senators face the Lightning tomorrow night in Tampa.

The Senators had to be pleased they were able to score a tough road win.

There was nothing fancy about this one. The bottom line is the hard work paid off, as it looked like Vokoun was about to steal the game for the Panthers, the same way his backup Craig Anderson did last week in Ottawa.

"It was a gritty game. (The Panthers) didn't give up a lot of space. We had to stay with it," said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. "We were down a goal going into the third and we found a way. That's a good win for our team. We probably weren't our best at times, but we defended well and our goalie was good.

AULD STEALING JOB?

"It's another little step for us. We weren't perfect, but I thought out mindset, especially when the puck was in our end, was to defend and do a good job. It's a good step. We just have to look at areas where we have to be better. Now, we've got a big game to end this trip in Tampa."

Meanwhile, it appears Auld is going to make it difficult for supposed No. 1 goalie Martin Gerber to get back in net anytime soon.

"It's always nice to win against your former team. We pulled it off and that's a good sign," said Auld, who played 27 games for the Panthers in 2006-07. "I can't get too caught up in the fact that I'm playing a lot and I'm feeling good. When you're down by one goal, you just want to make sure you stop all the pucks. I didn't have a whole lot to do in the third."

Alfredsson said it was a nice way to end the day.

"I'm really going to enjoy dinner," said Alfredsson. "We played a really strong third period and that was encouraging. That was obviously a very big win for us."


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