Oh Dany boy, the Cup, is calling

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

It's time for Dany Heatley to check into the Stanley Cup final.

The Senators need him now more than ever.

Heatley, who scored six goals and 15 assists in 15 games to lead all players through three rounds, has zilch against Anaheim.

To Game 3's gutsy victory, his contributions were minimal.

Most glaring is the fact that Heatley, who led the team with 310 shots on goal during the regular season, didn't even get one puck on J.S. Giguere Saturday night.

In three games, he has tested the Ducks' goalie just three times. Only one of his shots on goal -- his last one, at 10:26 of the second period in Game 2 -- has come with the teams playing at even strength.

And it was a 49-foot wrist shot.

Heatley was robbed by Giguere on an 11-foot tip during a first-period 5-on-3 earlier that night. In Game 1, he was held to a single, 20-foot wrister with the Senators on a power play.

It's possible Ottawa's 50-goal all-star is playing through an injury, of course. But while Heatley did not participate in yesterday's practice, coach Bryan Murray dismissed his absence by saying the big winger was simply given a day off.

If there's more to it than that, if Heatley was resting a damaged body part, the severity of the problem didn't affect his minutes the night before.

Heatley played 21:31, second among Ottawa forwards, behind only Daniel Alfredsson's 23:06.

To give all the credit for the shutdown to Anaheim checkers or the Ducks' system probably isn't right, either. Heatley accounted for four of Ottawa's 11 missed shots, so he did get the puck in a position to pull the trigger. He just misfired.

It's not just Heatley. The No. 1 line continues to struggle.

While Alfredsson scored a controversial power-play goal to give him his second point (along with a Game 1 assist) in the final, he still has yet to put on in off his stick.

And Saturday, Jason Spezza was held pointless for the second game in a row. He has not experienced such a drought since mid-October.

"They had the puck more (Saturday) night," Murray said of his big three yesterday. "I thought Anaheim did a good job against them, but very definitely, they were better.

"Will they play better than this? We certainly hope so."

The Senators won one game with their first line playing like their fourth.

They'll likely not win one more, let alone three, if that remains the case.

RISING TO THE OCCASION: For the first two games of the series, the Senators admit they were guilty of waiting for their big line to take control. "I just think it's human nature to be a little complacent because the top line is playing as well and scoring as easily as it had been," said Chris Kelly. "For them to go through a bit of a dry spell for two or three games, the other lines had to step up and contribute." ... Without Chris Pronger in the lineup, Kelly says the Senators will have to make the other Ducks defencemen "accountable for their minutes." Without Pronger, reporters have noted the Senators are going to have to look for goals from another source. While it was credited to Dean McAmmond, it was Pronger who actually put the winner behind J.S. Giguere on Saturday ... At least Peter Schaefer lived to talk about his third-period wrestling match with 6-foot-4, 243-lb. Dustin Penner. "It felt like Ultimate Fighting," Schaefer joked yesterday. "I was trying to tap out and he had me in a choke hold. I couldn't get up." ... Mike Comrie, on his almost-fight with Corey Perry. "The whistle went and we started talking, it really wasn't a big issue. We were both kind of trying to get a spark for our teams. I dropped my gloves, then I realized he didn't want to go, so I tried to pick them up as quick as I could so I wouldn't get a delay of game penalty." Why did Perry decline? "I think he saw my fight tapes," Comrie said with a chuckle.

THIS AND THAT: Alfredsson heaped praise on the Senators' No. 12 yesterday. "I think he's been probably our best forward in this series," Alfredsson said of Mike Fisher. "He thrives on this kind of game: Physical, fast-paced. He's so strong and quick, and I think the biggest thing is he has so much energy, he can go back, shift after shift, and play the way he does. It's pretty impressive. And we all shake our heads at some of the hits he delivers." ... While the Ducks rely primarily on four defencemen, the Senators don't exactly have a regular rotation themselves these days. In Game 3, Chris Phillips played 24:28 even-strength time. Joe Corvo played 7:26 ... The excitement of the Stanley Cup final drew Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to a practice yesterday. It also brought out an MTV crew and its stunning reporter, who was wearing a rather unique Senators jersey that could make you forget Melnyk (and everyone else for that matter) was in the house ... Among the ex-Senators in town taking in the final is goalie Jani "Moo Moo" Hurme, who spent last year playing in his homeland of Finland and has just signed a three-year deal to play in Sweden ... Don't forget that a Canadian band you might have listened to in the 1970s is performing in the Red Zone prior to tonight's game. Question: Where does Trooper go, after Two for the Show?


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