MapleLeafs.com proudly sponsored by ROGERS™ Welcome to the Official Site of Leafs Nation - MapleLeafs.com
 

Battle Reaches Final Front

Tuesday, 20.04.2004 / 9:12 AM / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
X
Share with your Friends


Battle Reaches Final Front

GAME: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinals; tied 3-3.

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EDT.

If Daniel Alfredsson was worried during Game 6 that his guarantee was about to become a source of entertainment for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he didn't show it afterward.

Alfredsson and his Ottawa Senators teammates look to carry that calm, confident approach into Game 7 when the Ontario rivals meet for a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Mike Fisher scored 1:47 into double overtime to give Ottawa a 2-1 win over Toronto on Sunday night, sending the series back to Air Canada Centre - and keeping Alfredsson's guarantee valid.

Following a 2-0 loss Friday which put Ottawa on the brink of elimination, Alfredsson - the Senators captain - assured reporters that his club would win Games 6 and 7.

"I don't think you've seen the last of us yet (in Toronto)," Alfredsson said following a closed-door meeting. "We're going to go home, win, and force Game 7. Then we'll come back in here and we'll win the series."

Ottawa fell behind 1-0 on Brian McCabe's power-play goal 4:14 into the first period Sunday night, and the score stayed that way until Zdeno Chara scored at 4:55 of the third.

After Fisher ended it when he redirected Antoine Vermette's pass across the crease into a wide-open left side of the net in the second extra period, Alfredsson sounded like he never had a doubt.

"We've been playing some good hockey up until Game 5, which wasn't our best effort," Alfredsson said. "We knew we could rebound well from that because we've done it all year long. Tonight we got a great effort from everybody which got us a chance to play in Game 7."

For the Senators to have a chance to win Game 7, they'll have to find a way to keep generating enough offense against Ed Belfour. The Leafs' veteran goalie stopped 44 shots Sunday and has recorded three shutouts in the series, including one in Game 5.

The fiery Belfour wasn't dwelling on the defeat afterward, instead choosing to focus on Tuesday's contest.

"We'd better take advantage of it," Belfour said of playing in front of the home fans. "It means a lot to be at home with the crowd behind us. We have to play a lot better."

Belfour held the Senators scoreless for 157 minutes, 45 seconds earlier in the series while recording shutouts in Games 2 and 3. Chara's goal Sunday broke another Belfour shutout streak of 116:55.

It won't matter how well Belfour plays, however, if Toronto can't score. The Maple Leafs probably won't have one of their top offensive players yet again in Game 7, as center and captain Mats Sundin is doubtful for Tuesday with a "lower body injury." He has missed two straight games.

"He just tested it today. It wasn't even a good test. It was preliminary," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said Monday. "He'll play when he's ready, and I'm not sure he's ready yet."

Sundin, who has a goal and three assists in four playoff games, said he will decide whether he can play in Tuesday night's game after the morning skate.

Ottawa had lost its four previous playoff overtime games against the Maple Leafs, but Alfredsson's bold prediction apparently gave his club confidence.

"Our captain said big things and that's something that brings you closer as a team," Vermette said. "It's not just one player. Daniel played a great game, and the guys wanted to play hard and come up with some character and passion. That was one key tonight. We didn't give up."

The Senators will need more of that emotion as they try to overcome even more daunting history as they look to reach the conference semifinals for the third straight year. Ottawa lost in Game 7 to New Jersey last year in the East finals, and is 0-3 all-time in Game 7s.

The Maple Leafs are 11-9 in Game 7s, including 6-1 at home. Toronto lost 6-1 at Philadelphia in the seventh game of its first-round series last year.

"We didn't think it was going to be easy, by any means," McCabe said. "We worked hard. We came up on the short end, but we're confident and we're in a great spot heading home for Game 7."

Vermette, who earned his first point of the series on Fisher's goal, replaced center Jason Spezza, who was out of the Senators' lineup for the third time in the series. Spezza, who also didn't dress for the first two games in Toronto, failed to record a point in the three games he played.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Senators - 102 points; 5th seed. Maple Leafs - 103 points; 4th seed.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Marian Hossa, 3 goals; Martin Havlat, 3 assists; Hossa, Havlat and Alfredsson, 3 points; Chris Phillips, 12 PIM. Maple Leafs - Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk, 3 goals; Sundin and Brian Leetch, 3 assists; Sundin and Gary Roberts, 4 points; Nik Antropov, 12 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Senators - Power play: 9.7 percent (3 for 31). Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (22 for 26). Maple Leafs - Power play: 15.4 percent (4 for 26). Penalty killing: 90.3 percent (28 for 31).

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Belfour (3-3, 3 SO, 1.57 GAA); Trevor Kidd (no appearances). Senators - Patrick Lalime (3-3, 1.59); Martin Prusek (no appearances).

 Associated Press
Fantom Sticker Album






torontomapleleafs.com is the official Web site of the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club. The Maple Leafs and mapleleafs.com are trademarks of MLSE.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 MLSE and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.


Terms Of Use | Contact Us | Employment Opportunities | Advertise on mapleleafs.com | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map