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Dany Heatley Returns, Logan Couture Leads Sharks Over Senators

Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) – Logan Couture scored twice and Antti Niemi recorded his eighth career shutout with 28 saves, as Dany Heatley and the San Jose Sharks blanked the Ottawa Senators, 4-0, at Scotiabank Place.

Heatley returned to Ottawa for the first time since his demanded trade to San Jose at the beginning of last season. This marked Heatley’s first time playing at this arena as an opposing player since February of 2004, when he was a member of the Atlanta Thrashers. He’d spent four seasons with Ottawa.

“I expected a bit of that,” said Heatley referring to an unfriendly welcome from the Ottawa fans. “They are passionate fans and they love their team.”

Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun also scored for the Sharks, who have won three of their last five since a three-game winless skid in mid-November. San Jose will continue its current five-game road trip on Saturday in Montreal.

Pascal Leclaire yielded four goals on 33 shots in the losing effort. Ottawa has now lost four of its last five games overall.

At the 12:49 mark of the opening period, San Jose grabbed a 1-0 via Marleau’s power-play goal. With Sergei Gonchar in the penalty box for hooking, Dan Boyle released a slap shot from the right point and the rebound kicked out into the lower right circle for a successful rebound by Marleau. It was his 11th goal.

Another power-play tally by the visitors made it a two-goal lead at 8:22 of the middle session. Heatley kept the puck inside the offensive zone along the right half-wall and mustered a pass back to Braun, whose wrist shot from the point made its way through traffic and past Leclaire.

“We struggled to keep our intensity up throughout the game,” said Ottawa’s Chris Campoli.

Couture lit the lamp 35 seconds into the final stanza, a tally assisted by Benn Ferriero and Ryan Clowe, who then set up Couture again for the final goal with 13:46 remaining.

“We’ve been so inconsistent this season, but this was a good step for us, and now we need to build on it,” said Couture.

Heatley ended with an assist…This was Niemi’s first shutout with the Sharks after posting seven in Chicago last season…He made 13 saves in the first period…San Jose was 2-for-2 on the power play, while Ottawa had three chances with the extra skater…The Sharks have won five straight against Ottawa, which last defeated San Jose on October 18, 2003…The Sens will host Buffalo on Saturday.