The boos, the disparaging signs and the unflattering chants directed at former Senator Dany Heatley by the fans at Scotiabank Place didn't bother him or his current San Jose teammates a bit.
Heatley managed only one assist in his return to Ottawa, but Logan Couture scored twice and Antti Niemi stopped all 28 shots he faced as the Sharks blanked the slumping Senators 4-0 in Heatley's first game at Scotiabank Place since requesting a trade in the summer of 2009.
"I don't want to say it makes it more fun, but it makes it more exciting and gets a little more adrenaline going," Heatley said of the reception he got from the fans he played for from 2005-09. "I thought it was a pretty good playoff-like atmosphere."
The Sharks (12-8-4) had 33 shots on Ottawa goaltender Pascal Leclaire, who once again failed to get any offensive support. The Senators (11-14-1) have lost seven of its last nine games.
"We have to give them credit because they're a good team, but we're going through a stretch where we're having trouble scoring goals," Leclaire said.
Heatley played four seasons with the Senators, scoring 180 goals and adding 182 assists. He scored 50 goals twice, but had just 72 points in his final season with the club. His trade request just one year into a six-year contract extension became public and left Senators fans feeling snubbed. Heatley was finally traded on the opening day of training camp in 2009.
This was his first trip to Ottawa since the deal -- though he did face his old team in a 5-2 win in San Jose on Dec. 1, 2009.
Heatley was booed the moment he stepped on the ice for the warm-up, and again every time he touched the puck during the game. When Jason Spezza knocked Heatley to the ice early on it drew a loud cheer from the crowd, just as a save by Leclaire moments later.
"They're passionate fans and they love their team," Heatley said when asked about his reception.
"Once it starts you tend to tune it out. I got a pretty good taste of (the booing) in the warm-up and I figured that's what it would be like the entire game."
Once the puck dropped, the Sharks were in control.
Heatley took a penalty earlier in the second period for a high stick that clipped linemate Spezza and knocked him to the ice. That was the extent of the bad blood between Heatley and his former team.
"He was upset about the high stick, but obviously I didn't mean to do that," Heatley said. "I got a chance during a couple of the timeouts to talk to a few of the guys. The were teammates of mine and we went through a lot together."
Couture gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead early in the third period, receiving a small ovation when the goal was announced. He then scored on a breakaway to erase any doubt as to the outcome. He, Jamie McGinn and Derek Joslin -- all former captains of the Ottawa 67s in the Ontario Hockey League -- were playing their first NHL games in Ottawa.
"Maybe another goal at the end would have been nice, but I'm happy to score a couple of goals," Couture said. "It was pretty cool and there were a couple of claps. When I went out for the first star people stuck around and gave me some applause which was pretty cool.
"It's something very special for us three to get a chance to play on the same NHL team and then come back to the junior city where we all spent four years is something special and we're all thankful for it."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|PPG - Patrick Marleau (11) ASST: Dan Boyle (16), Joe Thornton (18)|
1 - 0 SJS
|PPG - Justin Braun (1) ASST: Dany Heatley (14)|
2 - 0 SJS
|Logan Couture (9) ASST: Benn Ferriero (1), Ryane Clowe (14)|
3 - 0 SJS
|Logan Couture (10) ASST: Ryane Clowe (15)|
4 - 0 SJS
|Mike Moore Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Sergei Gonchar Hooking against Dany Heatley|
|Dan Boyle Interference against Milan Michalek|
|Dany Heatley Hi-sticking against Jason Spezza|
|Nick Foligno Hooking against Dany Heatley|
|Dan Boyle Roughing against Chris Neil|
|Chris Neil Roughing against Dan Boyle|