ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—As fearsome as the Ottawa Senators’ top two lines are, the third unit is a potent trio, too.
The Wild were determined to stop top forwards Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson but Patrick Eaves, Chris Kelly and Vaclav Varada combined for eight points Monday in the Senators’ 6-1 rout of Minnesota.
Eaves, playing his first NHL game in his home state, recorded the first multipoint game of his career with two goals and an assist. Kelly had the first three-point game of his career with a goal and two assists.
“That line has been really good for us because they do everything right,” Senators coach Bryan Murray said. “Patty, Kelly and Varada together have really worked well, and now they’re getting points.”
Minnesota, which took a 1-0 lead when Filip Kuba scored on the Wild’s first shot, managed just three in the game’s first 30 minutes in losing for the fourth time in five games—all at home.
“They capitalize on every little mistake you make,” Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. “That’s a sign of a good team, a team that is on top of the league and playing well.”
Eaves tied the game in the first period when his long slap shot bounced off Minnesota defenseman Willie Mitchell and between the pads of Wild goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Andrej Meszaros gave the Senators the lead with 11.1 seconds left in the first, scoring on a power play.
Ottawa had just six shots in the second period, but scored on three of them to open a commanding lead. Eaves set up Chris Kelly’s goal at 1:56 of the second. After Heatley’s team-leading 29th put the Senators up 4-1, Eaves scored when Roloson misplayed the puck behind the Minnesota net. Eaves said when the first puck dropped, nerves were no longer a factor.
“I had a lot of friends and family in the crowd, but once you get out there and start hitting, the butterflies go away,” he said. “We did a lot of little things well and played a sound road game.”
Anton Volchenkov scored the only goal of the third period, his third of the season, with 4:07 remaining.
The Wild had just 16 shots on Senators goalie Dominik Hasek, the fewest he’s faced in a game this season.
“We were able to keep the puck in their zone and work them down low,” Heatley said. “We didn’t allow a lot of quality chances.”
Roloson had 28 saves for Minnesota and fell to 5-14-1.
“We’ve just got to believe in ourselves, and right now I don’t think we are,” Roloson said.
Eaves’ father, Mike, who coaches the top-ranked University of Wisconsin hockey team, was among several members of the Eaves family in attendance. … Minnesota, which has had the NHL’s top penalty-killing unit for much of the season, allowed more than one power-play goal at home for just the third time this season. … Wild RW Pascal Dupuis left the game in the first period with a possible separated right shoulder. He will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.