Post-game report: Ottawa 4 Pittsburgh 3
The Senators sent nine players to the Olympics in Turin, Italy, but didn't show any post-Olympic letdown until Pittsburgh's John LeClair, Andre Roy and Jani Rita scored in an eight-minute span of the third. Rita, acquired from Edmonton last month, scored his first goal for Pittsburgh and set up another in a 33-second stretch that turned a one-sided game into a tight one.
Until the Penguins' outburst, they had been outscored 16-4 in three games against Ottawa this season, including a 5-2 Senators victory on Feb. 6 that was rookie goalie Ray Emery's last in net before Wednesday.
Emery started because six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek injured his groin five minutes into his first Olympic game with the Czech Republic on Feb. 15 and is out indefinitely.
The Senators are 8-1-1 in their last 10 against Pittsburgh, which has lost eight of 10 despite winning its final two before its 17-day Olympic break. The only difference was, for a change, this game was close.
Ottawa got off to a familiar start less than seven minutes into the game with Peter Schaefer's third goal in two games against Pittsburgh, which is 7-17-6 at home this season. Mike Fisher carried the puck unimpeded from his own end before putting a shot on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the right circle that rebounded directly to Schaefer in the lower left circle for his 12th.
Alfredsson played for gold medal-winning Sweden in Turin and didn't arrive back in Ottawa until after the Senators' flight left Tuesday. But he arrived in Pittsburgh in plenty of time for the game and scored slightly past the five-minute mark of the second, grabbing a rebound of Andrej Meszaros' shot that Fleury let bounce in front of him and steering it into the net on a power play.
Brian Pothier scored his second of the season later in the period, also on a power play, before Alfredsson set up Heatley for his 35th with 3 1/2 minutes left in the period.
The Penguins did nothing against Emery until LeClair put in a rebound of Ryan Malone's shot on a power play at 6:18 of the third. About seven minutes later, Roy scored his first with Pittsburgh after defenceman Zdeno Chara couldn't clear the puck from in front of his own net.
Shortly after the ensuing faceoff, Rita scored his fourth of the season off LeClair's pass on a two-man rush - forcing the Senators to tighten up the rest of the way to protect what had become a one-goal lead.
Emery stopped 27 shots to win for only the second time in five starts, with both victories against Pittsburgh. He has allowed 22 goals in the five starts.
Notes: Ottawa is 4-2-1 in its last seven. .B .B . The Penguins failed to win three in a row for the first time since March 19-23, 2004. .B .B . Ottawa is 16-8-4 on the road. .B .B . Emery had a .779 save percentage while allowing 17 goals in three games before the consecutive victories against the Penguins.