Sens get early gift

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

The Senators won't be seen at Scotiabank Place again until Jan. 10 and they left their restless fans with an early Christmas present, courtesy of an unlikely Santa Claus.

Defenceman Jason Smith scored his first goal in 104 games with 90 seconds left in overtime to give the Senators a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars and a welcome boost heading into a stretch of eight road games, where the Senators have been miserable.

The Senators could create a little momentum with another win Tuesday night in Philadelphia before the brief Christmas break, after which they get the boot from Scotiabank Place for the world junior championship.

ALFIE 'DAY-TO-DAY'

The news wasn't all good, as Daniel Alfredsson suffered an upper body injury in the second period after he was slammed into the boards from behind by Jere Lehtinen, though Alfredsson said he didn't think it was serious.

"I'll come in (today) and we'll re-evaluate it," said Alfredsson. "It's day-to-day, I hope."

Owner Eugene Melnyk stopped by after the game to address players and management and everyone was encouraged by what they saw as a grinding effort and more of a desired team game.

"It was a real good game. I'm real proud," said coach Craig Hartsburg. "It was fitting (Smith) scored the goal. He's a guy who plays the price every night and doesn't get a lot of accolades."

Smith -- who had fallen behind Martin Gerber on the team's scoring list when Gerber got his first point of the season earlier in the game -- jumped down from the point, took a pass from Mike Fisher and beat Marty Turco to the glove side. Dany Heatley also drew an assist, the 500th point of his career.

'EXCITED TO SCORE'

"I tossed the puck off to (Heatley). It's his 500th point and that's more important. It's nice to be a part of it," said Smith when asked if he had a special place for the puck.

It was just his 41st goal in his 976th game and his first point as a Senator.

"I'm just excited to score. Fisher made a great pass and I just had to put it into the net."

The other goal-scoring news is forward Antoine Vermette breaking a 19-game skid without a goal when he put the Senators up 2-1 in the second on the power play.

The goal came after some solid work by winger Nick Foligno, who might have been Ottawa's best forward over the last couple of games.

It was Vermette's first since Nov. 1, so it was understandable when many in the crowd of 19,486 seemed to stumble when PA announcer Stuntman Stu paused after announcing "Antoine..." for the new custom of having the crowd shout the scorer's name.

"Nineteen games? I didn't know how long it was. I should have asked (Jason Spezza). He's a big guy for stats," said Vermette. "It's definitely nice, especially coming with a win."


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