<
>

Alfredsson nets two, Heatley keeps streak alive in win

OTTAWA (AP) -- Daniel Alfredsson made it clear that the Ottawa
Senators' recent power-play struggles were merely a short-term
glitch.

Alfredsson scored man-advantage goals 20 seconds apart midway
through the third period and Ottawa beat Florida 4-1 on Thursday
night, extending the Panthers' season-high losing streak to 10
games.

The Senators had gone 4-for-35 on the power-play in their
previous five games, and just 1-for-23 in their last three.

"Those were two big goals for us," the Senators captain said.
"They won us the game and that's one of the things we want to
improve on, and it's nice to see it pay off."

Dany Heatley assisted on Alfredsson's 18th goal -- his second of
the game -- to extend his point streak to 17 games.

"We took some heat on that -- we haven't been very successful in
our last few games -- and it's nice to see the big guys come through
and keep that point streak alive for Heatley," said Senators
forward Bryan Smolinski, who scored early in the third period to
tie it at 1.

Dominik Hasek made 31 saves, and Antoine Vermette also scored
for Ottawa, which improved to 14-3.

"We got a lot of momentum going off that first goal,"
Alfredsson said. "[Chris] Neil's pass to Smolinski got the car
going and after that, we put a lot of pressure on them."

Florida captain Olli Jokinen scored his sixth of the season
15:43 in. The Panthers, who gave up the winning goal Tuesday in
Montreal with four seconds remaining in overtime, are 0-7-3 during
the team's longest losing streak since a club-record, 13-game slide
in 1998.

"They score a goal and all hell breaks loose," said goalie
Roberto Luongo, who thought Florida had played its best 40 minutes
of the season -- "especially on defense."

With the game tied at 1, Florida defenseman Eric Cairns was sent
off for holding 11:36 into the third. Alfredsson put the Senators
up 2-1 just 28 seconds into the penalty as he finished off a
passing play with Jason Spezza and Wade Redden.

Cairns stepped out of the box arguing and was promptly sent back
for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Ottawa needed even less time than on its previous power play to
add to the lead as Alfredsson stepped up at the right point and
drove a slap shot between Luongo's pads to make it 3-1 at 12:24.

"I should have kept my mouth shut and I didn't, and it cost the
team," Cairns said. "That's life under the new rules. You've
really got to watch your step and your Ps & Qs."

Antoine Vermette added his fourth goal at 17:45 to increase the
lead to three.

The game marked Florida coach Jacques Martin's return to Ottawa.
Martin, who coached the Senators from 1995-2004, had a 341-255-96
regular-season record. He coached Ottawa to eight straight playoff
appearances, though managed to win only 31 of 69 postseason games.
The Senators, who fell to New Jersey in a seven-game conference
final in 2003, were eliminated by provincial rivals Toronto in four
of Martin's final five seasons.

The Senators, who have lost just three times in 17 games, fell
2-1 on Tuesday to Carolina, their second loss to the Hurricanes
this season.

"They're a good hockey club. That's why you've got to
capitalize when you get your opportunities," said Martin, whose
team went 0-for-6 on the power play, including five opportunities
in the second. "We had some power play chances and we didn't
score. Then in the third period, we got into some penalty problems
and they capitalized."

Shut out through the first two periods Tuesday for the first
time since their Oct. 5 season opener in Toronto, Ottawa again
failed to score through 40 minutes despite firing 26 shots at
Luongo -- 16 in the second.

The Senators finally broke through when Smolinski scored 2:25
into the third period, tying it at 1.

Luongo made a huge pad save on Heatley moments later to keep it
tied. Ottawa enjoyed a two-man advantage for 1:33 when Panthers
defenseman Shawn Hill was sent off for interference at 3:44.

"You've got to remember, this is one of the better teams in the
league," Martin said. "I think we learned from that and we played
with them for 40 minutes."

Game notes
Martin was given a warm ovation early when he was shown on
the video scoreboard along with the message, "THANKS FOR 9 GREAT
SEASONS, JACQUES." "It's nice to be welcomed to Ottawa," Martin
said. "It's a great city." ... Panthers C Jozef Stumpel was a
healthy scratch. Stumpel, who missed his first game of the season,
has no goals and four assists in 19 games. ... Ottawa held a 45-32
margin in shots, recording 19 in the third.