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Senators demolish Devils 8-1 for first home victory of season

Antoine Vermette and Dean McAmmond each scored twice while Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists as the Senators blasted the New Jersey Devils 8-1, breaking out of their season-long scoring slump in a major way.

Dany Heatley, Joe Corvo and Tom Preissing also scored for the Senators (3-4-0), who picked up their first home victory in five tries. After leading the league with 314 goals last season, Ottawa entered Saturday's game with a league-low 11 in its first six games.

"We know it's just one game and we have to keep working," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson. "Right now it feels great, especially to win at home and the way we played."

With a total of 13 different players picking up points, the Senators finally started to resemble last season's powerhouse.

"We relaxed a little bit and started making the plays that people are used to seeing us make," said Spezza. "To get everybody in on it allows you to grip the stick a little less tightly from now on."

Ray Emery made 34 saves for his second win of the season, while Martin Brodeur allowed six goals on 26 shots before being replaced by Scott Clemmensen who gave up two goals on 12 shots.

Brian Gionta scored the lone goal for the Devils (4-3-1).

The last time the Devils gave up eight goals dated back to December 26, 1993.

"They made us pay for every mistake we made," said Devils coach Claude Julien. "We have nobody else to blame but ourselves."

In many ways the Senators were facing a crossroads going into Saturday's game. Many predicted changes would be forthcoming if the team lost, but such a lopsided victory will undoubtedly buy the Senators some time.

For the first time this season the Senators played a complete game and did all the little things that coach Bryan Murray has been preaching in practice.

"Anytime you're in this business and you're trying to teach, at the end of the session you have to get some rewards as a player," said Murray. "Tonight they got some and hopefully that reinforces what we're trying to do."

Spezza, who has been severely criticized of late, opened the scoring for the Senators with a power-play goal - just their second of the year with the man advantage - midway through the period.

Gionta tied the game with just over five minutes remaining in the period as the Devils took advantage of an Ottawa turnover at its own blue-line.

But two minutes later Ottawa regained the lead, with Heatley tipping Tom Preissing's point shot, and the rout was on from there.

The second period opened with a flurry of chances at both ends, but it was the Senators who broke open the game scoring five unanswered goals.

While the Senators exploded offensively, they also received a solid performance from Emery which will force the coaching staff to give him strong consideration for the home-and-home series against the Toronto Maple Leafs next week.

With just one win in their last four games, Senators' fans were desperate for a victory - and the 19,166 on hand weren't disappointed.

"Some of those goals were lucky, but I think we deserved them," said Spezza. "This will be a good confidence builder."

Vermette picked up his first of the year as he beat Brodeur five-hole and 50 seconds later Corvo, who signed with the Sens during the off-season, jumped into the play and scored from the slot.

While Chris Neil had just one assist, he was one of the Senators top forwards and was voted the game's number-one star.

"To get eight goals against a good goalie like that should give us confidence," said Neil. "I think it was a good step in the right direction."

Five minutes later Preissing, another defenceman signed during the off-season, scored from the far side boards and 32 seconds later Vermette picked up his second to make it 6-1 Ottawa.

That put an end to Brodeur's night as Scott Clemmensen was sent in, but he faired no better as Dean McAmmond scored with 57 seconds remaining in the period.

"It was a tough night for everybody," said Brodeur. "All the goals they worked hard for."

Notes: Ottawa LW Peter Schaefer missed the game due to a hip flexor and LW Denis Hamel

was a healthy scratch aThe Devils were without D Alex Brooks (healthy scratch), C Travis

Zajac (general soreness) and LW Dan LaCouture (healthy scratch).



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