Senators 6, Flyers 1

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OTTAWA (AP)—Dany Heatley appears to be adapting well to playing without injured Ottawa Senators linemate Jason Spezza.

With Spezza sidelined Sunday for the eighth straight game because of a knee injury, Heatley didn’t miss a beat against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Heatley had two goals and an assist, and linemate Daniel Alfredsson added a goal and two assists in the Ottawa Senators’ 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Chris Kelly, who has replaced Spezza at center, had a goal and an assist.

“You kind of just go with what your line is made up of,” said Heatley, who now has five goals in the past three games. “With Kells and Alfie, it’s more

“And with Spezz, for me, it’s just kind of get open and shoot the puck. It changes a little bit. But I think the biggest reason (for Heatley’s hot streak) is everyone’s playing better and skating better. It makes the game easier.”

The Senators won for the sixth time in their last eight games as rookie Josh Hennessy added his first NHL goal, and Joe Corvo also scored.

Among the crowd of 18,509 at Scotiabank Place was Graham and Lu-Ann Snyder— the parents of former player Dan Snyder. He was Heatley’s friend and teammate with the Atlanta Thrashers, who was killed in September 2003 after Heatley’s car, which he was a passenger in, crashed in an Atlanta suburb.

Heatley was to meet with the Snyders, who are on a tour of NHL cities to raise money for the Dan Snyder Memorial Foundation, following the game.

“It was good (to have them in attendance),” Heatley said. “They’ve been on the tour logging the miles, so it will be good to see them after.”

Martin Gerber, making a rare home start in place of Ray Emery, made 20 saves, allowing only R.J. Umberger’s goal.

Antero Niittymaki made 37 saves for Philadelphia in his 11th straight loss.

“Terrible,” was how Flyers coach John Stevens described the outing. “We put up a fight for 10 minutes, then there was no fight after that.”

The last time Gerber started at Scotiabank Place was Nov. 13 in a 6-3 loss to Montreal. Since then, he’s had to settle for road work and one home relief appearance.

He hadn’t appeared in any game in the Senators’ past seven outings since beating the Flyers 6-3 on Dec. 23 at Philadelphia.

Niittymaki hadn’t seen much action lately, either. He was playing for the first time since Dec. 27 after missing three games because of a hip problem and backing up Robert Esche for two more.

And the Flyers were once again without Peter Forsberg, who continues to be sidelined by injury problems and missed his third straight game with a groin strain. They fell to 0-12-3 without their captain in the lineup this season.

The Senators were coming off a 3-2 loss to New Jersey on Saturday.

Alfredsson opened the scoring less than 7 minutes into the game when Wade Redden’s shot bounced off Flyers defenseman Alexandre Picard and fell to the Senators’ captain, who was left unchecked at the side of a wide-open net for an easy tap-in. Corvo made it 2-0 late in the period with a blast from the top of the faceoff circle.

Gerber didn’t look sharp in allowing the Flyers to cut the lead to a goal early in the second, when his failed poke check in a race to a loose puck gave Umberger an empty net, but Heatley restored the two-goal cushion on a breakaway midway through the period.

Hennessy, who was appearing in his eighth career game after being recalled from Binghamton on Saturday, pounced on a rebound for his first goal before the period was over.

Kelly rounded out the scoring with another drive from the faceoff circle in the third, where Philadelphia’s Ben Eager livened things up by spearing Senators’ tough guy Brian McGrattan. Eager, an Ottawa native, received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Notes

The Senators are 17-8-7-0 against the Flyers since the 1998-99 season. … Mike Fisher (knee), Spezza (knee) and Antoine Vermette (hip) all sat out for Ottawa. … Right winger Stefan Ruzicka was scratched from Philadelphia’s lineup.

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Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Martin Gerber Edm 21 20

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jan 7