WINNIPEG -- The Ottawa Senators spoiled the NHL home opener for Winnipeg with a 4-1 victory over the Jets on Saturday afternoon.
Senators' tough guy Chris Neil scored on a rebound to break a 1-1 tie late in the second period, and defenseman Erik Karlsson made it 3-1 with a power-play goal with under eight minutes left in the third period as Ottawa showed more energy and offense to earn a victory on the road.
Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris also scored for Ottawa, while Dustin Byfuglien opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the first period for Winnipeg.
Jet fans embraced a "forgive-and-forget" attitude at the downtown MTS Centre, even though the puck dropped more than three months late due to an exasperating NHL lockout. Ten minutes before the clubs even skated onto the ice, a frenetic sellout crowd of more than 15,000 spectators were on their feet, shouting "Go Jets Go."
The Jets responded with a fast start and a couple of close calls, hammering two shots off the post before even registering their first official shot on goal four minutes into the first. But they made their third shot of the period count when Dustin Byfuglien ripped a slapshot past Senators goalie Craig Anderson with the Jets on the power play at the six-minute mark. Neil was off serving a two-minute minor penalty for boarding when Byfuglien scored.
Ottawa tied the game 1-1 when Milan Michalek converted a giveaway by Jets rookie blueliner Paul Postma, firing the puck past Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec with four minutes left in the first.
Byfuglien nearly had his second goal of the period when he joined the rush, took a pass from Bryan Little and tried to beat Anderson low, only to be stopped by a great toe with less than a minute to go in the opening frame.
The Jets dominated the first 10 minutes of the second period, outshooting Ottawa 9-0, but couldn't solve Anderson, who earned the start in net over Robin Lehner.
The Sens grabbed a 2-1 lead late in the second when Neil, battling two Jets in front of Pavelec, batted in his first goal of the season off a scramble.
Karlsson and Turris added goals late in the third period.
Ottawa outshot Winnipeg 37-28.
NOTES: Jets' co-owner Mark Chipman greeted fans as they streamed into Winnipeg's MTS Centre on Saturday afternoon, shaking hands and thanking people for their patience during the NHL lockout. ... The Jets opened the abbreviated season without defenseman Zach Bogosian, who had surgery on his wrist in August and isn't likely to return to the lineup until late February. ... Winnipeg's next game is Monday afternoon in Boston against the Bruins on Martin Luther King Day. The club plays the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday night. ... Ottawa hosts the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Place on Monday night. ... The Senators beat the Jets twice last year in Winnipeg by identical 6-5 scores. ... Ottawa's Erik Karlsson led all NHL blueliners with 78 points in 81 games last season and earned Norris Trophy honors as the league's top defenseman. Jets' Dustin Byfuglien finished second in points by a defenseman with 53. ... Daniel Alfredsson is the longest-serving captain in the NHL as he heads into his 13th season wearing the 'C'. He was the franchise leader in games played (1,131), goals (416), assists (666) and points (1,082) coming into Saturday's game.