'Awesome' night for Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Brendan Bell made himself at home last night at Scotiabank Place.

With the Senators trying to avoid falling into the Eastern Conference basement, the Ottawa native played a big role, with a goal and an assist, in a 5-1 victory over the last-place Atlanta Thrashers.

Dany Heatley had a goal and two assists. Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Filip Kuba had two points each.

Goaltender Alex Auld was solid as the Senators bounced back from a 4-2 loss to the Islanders Saturday.

Shean Donovan completed the scoring with his fourth of the season to allow the Senators to score five goals or more for only the third time this season.

It was the first time Alfredsson, Heatley and Spezza had scored in the same game since a 6-1 win over Montreal last Feb. 9.

It was a game to remember for Bell, who had his first two points since being called up from Binghamton on Nov. 16.

Bell, a former captain of the 67's, scored his first NHL goal since Jan. 20, 2007. Earlier in the day, Christoph Schubert told Bell he would score his first goal.

"It was awesome. I will take them any way I can get them. If I can score some goals, all the better," said Bell, who believed somebody grabbed the puck. "I hadn't thought about it much. It wasn't just another goal. To have friends and family here was great."

With the Thrashers pushing to get back into the game in the second, Bell, with the Senators on the power play, fired a shot from the point that changed direction and beat goalie Ondrej Pavelec at 18:54 of the second to give Ottawa a 4-1 lead.

DON'T LET IT SLIDE

"Everybody had been talking about scoring and it was nice to score some goals," said Spezza.

"(Coach Craig Hartsburg) had preached not to let this thing slide after Saturday and it was nice that we were able to score some goals."

With 2:56 left in the second and the Senators clinging to a two-goal lead, the fans gave Auld a standing ovation after he made a stop on Bryan Little. Really, that was just fans letting Auld know that he'd been outstanding.

Making his ninth straight start in the club's net, he had to come up big after the Thrashers had a total of 1:54 in 5-on-3 power play time in a span of five minutes with Ottawa ahead 3-1.

First, Jarkko Ruutu (elbowing) was sent to the box, then Chris Kelly (tripping). Then Chris Phillips was sent off for slashing.

"To me your penalty killing starts with the goalie," said Hartsburg. "When the goalie is good it gives your penalty killers confidence," said Hartsburg.

It didn't take long for the Senators smell blood. Alfredsson gave the club a 3-1 lead in the first by taking a pass from Heatley, skating in alone and beating Pavelec low on the glove side at 15:31.

"We played well. Auld made some big saves and we did a good job killing penalties. That was a big key to the win," said Alfredsson.

"It was a huge start for us. Our first period, we were just moving. We got a little more time and space than we usually do and we had fun."

After a perfect pass from Bell, Heatley opened the scoring with a blast that beat Pavelec at 1:18 of the first.

Thrashers tough guy Eric Boulton tied it with his first goal in 46 games. The joy didn't last long as Spezza gave the club a 2-1 lead at 6:12 of the first on the power play.

The Senators host the Penguins Saturday at 2 p.m.


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