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Heatley's hat trick lifts Senators over Panthers

Nov 25, 2006 - 3:28 AM SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Dany Heatley scored 50 goalsfor the Ottawa Senators last season, but has been relatively quiet this season.

Heatley scored three goals and Jason Spezza netted the game-winner to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 6-4 victory over the Florida Panthers.

The victory was the fourth straight for Ottawa, which is 6-5-1 in November.

"It's a funny game," Heatley said. "Early in the season, we would have tensed up going into the third (trailing), and tonight I felt we were really confident. We had a confident attitude going in and took care of business."

Spezza scored the decisive goal at 7:48 of the third period on the power play when he took a pass from Heatley and snapped the puck past Florida goaltender Ed Belfour for a 5-4 lead.

"We are back to .500," said Spezza, who has 10 goals this season for the Senators (11-11-1). "We don't want to get below .500 again. They (Panthers) battled back to tie it up in the second then we tied it up, so it was nice to get the gamewinner."

Heatley scored an insurance goal, his 14th of the season, with 1:00 left when he jammed in a rebound past Belfour for a 6-4 advantage.

Dean McAmmond and Mike Fisher also scored for the Senators while Ray Emery recorded 33 saves.

Gary Roberts scored twice on power plays and Stephen Weiss and Drew Larman added single tallies for the Panthers. Belfour finished with 26 saves.

"I don't score too many pretty ones, so I'll take them," Roberts said. "For me, I've got to go to the net and tip some in and get some loose pucks in the goal crease. Unfortunately, I had a chance in the third to tie the game, but hit the goalpost and went out. It's good to get those chances, but it would have felt a lot better if we would have gotten a win tonight."

Larman's goal was his first career tally in only his second NHL game.

"(Martin) Gelinas had a nice shot and I saw the open net and I thought if I missed that one, I would have had nightmares," Larman said. "It's unbelievable. I got on a six o'clock flight (Friday) morning and my nerves were still going when I got here."

Ottawa was 2-for-7 on the power play, while Florida was 2-for-5 with the extra skater.

The loss was another painful one for the Panthers, who surrendered a two-goal lead in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"We just have a hard time playing with the lead, I guess," Florida center Joe Nieuwendyk said. "Our penalty killing didn't help. We got a lot of penalties tonight. It's a scenario we've been getting better at too.

"When you have a good power play like (Ottawa's), they're going to score sooner or later, and we gave them enough opportunities to get back in the hockey game."

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