NHL Game Summary - Florida at Ottawa
(Thursday, February 7th)
Final Score: Ottawa 5, Florida 4
Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) - Dany Heatley scored a pair of goals, including the go-ahead goal early in the third period, in his return to the Ottawa lineup as the Senators won a wild game, 5-4, over the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Place.
Heatley, who also recorded an assist in the game, had sat out Ottawa's previous 11 games after separating his right shoulder January 12 against Detroit. Christoph Schubert, Joseph Corvo and Chris Phillips also tallied goals for the Senators, who snapped their three-game losing streak.
Jason Spezza notched three helpers for the Sens, while Ray Emery allowed four goals on 33 shots in the win.
"I felt pretty good out there," Heatley said. "I might have been a bit rusty at times, but overall I'm happy with the way I played. Getting the win is the most important thing, especially the way things have been going for us lately. It was great to be able to help out and score a couple of goals."
Olli Jokinen picked up a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who lost for the first time in four games. David Booth, Nathan Horton and Brett McLean added goals for Florida, and Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves.
Booth picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired the puck past a sprawling Emery for the only goal of the opening period, a power play tally with 3:41 left that put Florida up, 1-0, after 20 minutes.
Heatley put a stamp on his return to the lineup just 58 seconds into the second period, taking a pass from Wade Redden in the left circle, evading a defender and wristing the puck by Vokoun to tie the game at 1-1.
"Obviously Dany (Heatley) makes a big difference for our hockey club," Spezza said. "We were pretty happy to hear the news he'd be coming back tonight. He's a fifty goal scorer and having him back in the lineup put a smile on a lot of faces around here. It helps to have him out there to finish off my passes."
Just over three minutes later, Schubert picked up a loose puck in his own zone and blazed down the left wing, winding up and blasting a slap shot from the circle that beat Vokoun and put the Sens on top, 2-1.
A little more than 90 seconds later, Ottawa's barrage continued when Spezza slipped a pass to a wide-open Corvo in the slot for a sizzling one- timer that eluded Vokoun and gave the Senators a two-goal lead just 5:47 into the second period.
Florida finally stemmed the tide and knotted the game with a pair of goals 45 seconds apart midway through the period.
First, Jokinen slid a pass along the crease for McLean, who stuffed the puck past Emery for a power play goal that cut the lead to one. Then, Horton took a pass from Gregory Campbell in the high slot and fired a rising shot for the equalizer with 9:56 left.
But, the Senators responded once again, as Phillips finished a two-on-one rush by jamming home a rebound of Mike Fisher's shot to give the Senators a 4-3 lead just over six minutes before the second intermission.
Florida then tied the game once again on Jokinen's 27th tally of the season. Richard Zednik's shot from the right circle caromed off Emery's pads to Jokinen, whose shot deflected off of the sticks of two Senators defensemen, causing to puck to pop into the air and flutter over Emery's shoulder to knot the contest at four.
Heatley then cashed in on the power play at the 7:26 mark of the third period, ramming in a rebound of Redden's shot from the point for his second score of the night to put Ottawa on top, 5-4.
"I don't know if it was getting Dany back or not, but we definitely had a little more jump tonight," said Ottawa head coach John Paddock. "That was certainly evident in the second period, and I think it showed in the third period when the game was on the line."
Horton had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but his shot from the slot was denied by Emery as Ottawa held on for the victory.
"We knew they would have some new life with Heatley coming back, but we also knew if we played our game we could maybe surprise them and get a win," Jokinen said. "Both teams played well enough to win this game tonight, so it's frustrating to lose."
Redden had a pair of assists for the Senators, while Zednik recorded two helpers for Florida...The Senators have won three of four over the Panthers this season and seven of eight in the series overall...Ottawa continues its homestand Saturday against Montreal...Florida continues its swing through the Northeast Division when the Panthers visit Boston Saturday...Emery won for the first time in his last five starts and improved to 7-2-0 in his career against Florida.
02/08 00:49:04 ET