Sens getting back on track

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

While Alex Auld barely broke a sweat, Jesse Winchester had a night he'll never forget.

Auld, the Senators goalie, won his fifth game of the season, 4-1 over Philadelphia last night at Scotiabank Place. Making his seventh straight start, Auld faced only 18 shots.

"I was just trying to stay focused even when the shots weren't coming," said Auld.

Rookie Winchester, Dany Heatley, Anton Volchenkov and Chris Neil scored the Ottawa goals. Mike Fisher had two assists.

"It's pretty special. It's a pretty cool feeling," said Winchester, who found the puck at his locker after the game.

The Senators prepare to face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight in Raleigh before taking the weekend off and have now won four of their last five games, moving into a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Not only did the Senators dominate the Flyers offensively, they also played strong defensively.

How easy was it for Auld? During a third period power play with Volchenkov in the box, he didn't face a shot. In fact, Ottawa centre Dean McAmmond had the best chance with a breakaway, but was halted by Philly goalie Antero Niittymaki on a backhand.

It was the second straight game Fisher has had a two-point effort.

"There are still parts of our game that have to be better, but for the most part we played pretty well," said Fisher. "We've had some good efforts but I think we're becoming a better team. We've shown good commitment to defensive play in our zone and we're improving."

Winchester looked good playing on Fisher's left side with captain Daniel Alfredsson on the right.

The Flyers have had their share of issues defensively and the Senators exposed a lot of them through the first two periods.

Ottawa players were first on loose pucks, limited the high-scoring Flyers' chances offensively and made life tough for Niittymaki.

"I thought we did a great job on the forecheck. When you forecheck and make them play in their end, that's the way to play," said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. "I'm starting to see them play well as a group. If they play well as a team, they get confidence. It's a step and every day we can find ways to improve, but it's another step."

The Flyers looked like they may charge back when Aaron Asham cut the Senators' lead to one goal at 7:18 of the second, but Winchester's backhander through Niittymaki's five-hole at 8:14 slammed the door shut.

Up until Asham scored, the Senators had been outplaying the Flyers in virtually every aspect of the game.

The Senators got off to a strong start by pulling out to a 2-0 lead in the first period when Heatley scored his ninth of the season on the power play at 12:42. Left all alone in front, he took a perfect feed from Spezza and beat Niittymaki on the glove side.

That goal came on the heels of Flyers' defenceman Braydon Cobourn being given a five-minute major for a vicious check from behind on winger Antoine Vermette.

Vermette had a goal called back because it was ruled he kicked the puck in.

"We are playing well. We played really solid defensively and we were really disciplined," said Alfredsson. "We've definitely cut down on our chances against and that's been the key for us."


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