Senators Down Leafs In Overtime
The Canadian Press
| Ulmer's Blog
| Photos TORONTO --
Dany Heatley didn't take long to justify the Ottawa Senators' faith in him.
Heatley tied the score late in the third period and scored again 2:57 into overtime to give the Senators a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
During the afternoon, he reached agreement with management on a US$45-million, six-year contract extension.
``It was nice, it was nice,'' he said of his big day. ``I had a couple of shots early and didn't get the shots through.
``It was nice to get a couple of chances in the third (and in overtime) and finish.''
Heatley ended the game by burying a wrist shot from the middle of Toronto's zone between the legs of goaltender Andrew Raycroft.
``I didn't see anything on that last goal,'' he said. ``(Mike) Fisher made a great play through traffic and I just tried to get it away as fast as I could and find a hole.''
The assist was Fisher's lone point of the night, but a huge one. He lauded Heatley's finishing touch.
Heatley came up big for us, obviously in the third period and overtime, and showed everybody why he's a 50-goal scorer,'' said Fisher.
Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators, who pulled out the win for John Paddock in his first game as head coach.
``We finally picked up in the third,'' said Paddock. ``We were pretty lackadaisical in the second.
``We have to play better than we did tonight in some aspects of the game, but we found a way to win, which this group has got used to doing. And I'm glad they did it tonight.''
He wasn't the least bit surprised that Heatley was the hero.
``That's what goal scorers are,'' he said. ``You saw Brett Hull many nights, you don't think he's got anything and all of sudden he gets two chances and he scores.
``That's Heater. They were both goal-scorer's goals.''
Ottawa improved to 4-0 in visits to Toronto for Leafs season openers.
Nik Antropov scored twice for the Leafs, making coach Paul Maurice's decision to give him a chance on the first line with Mats Sundin and Jason Blake a wise one. Matt Stajan supplied Toronto's other goal.
``I thought we played a pretty good hockey game,'' said Sundin. ``We did a lot of good things.
``I don't think there was one part of the game that we were outplayed or outmatched. We'll take the point.''
The teams square off again Thursday night in Ottawa (TSN, 7:30 p.m. ET).
Bagpipes and drums of the 48th Highlanders filled the arena with music as has been the case at every home opener since the opening of Maple Leaf Gardens on Nov. 12, 1931. The men in kilts exited playing The Maple Leaf Forever, which put the announced crowd of 19,496 in a good mood.
Vermette turned the smiles to frowns when he opened the scoring at 7:23. A burst of speed sent him past Tomas Kaberle
and he fired a low wrist shot past Raycroft.
Antropov tied it at 10:39 when his pass from the side boards struck Chris Phillips' skate and ricocheted past goaltender Martin Gerber, Antropov scored again at 13:59 when he shot between Gerber's legs and Alfredsson made it 2-2 at 14:39 when his low wrist shot eluded Raycroft.
Leafs fourth-liner Kris Newbury fought Wade Redden late in the period.
The Leafs were outhitting and outshooting the Senators and, just as importantly, they were steering clear of the penalty box. Yet, to avoid falling behind again, they needed Raycroft to stop Chris Kelly on a breakaway in the fifth minute of the second period and to come up big during a two-man Ottawa advantage that lasted 65 seconds.
Stajan put Toronto up 3-2 at 15:44 of the second when he slapped a bullet past Gerber.
Redden left the ice a minute later with blood trickling down his face from a forehead cut after a fight with Bates Battaglia.
``That stuff doesn't go unnoticed,'' said Senators centre Jason Spezza. ``It gave us a jolt going into the third period, and it's fun when you see guys competing like that.''
The Senators picked up their play _ they'd outshoot the Leafs 12-4 in the third _ but Raycroft was solid.
Just when it seemed as if the Leafs might be able to run out the clock, Heatley struck. Andrej Meszaros fed him a cross-ice pass and he buried his shot in the open side of the net at 14:24.
It would be decided in overtime on the play generated by Fisher and finished by Heatley.
``I just threw (the puck) to him and somehow he corralled it and
got it away really quickly with a couple guys on him,'' said Fisher.
Heatley has haunted the Leafs throughout his career. In 25 games against them, he has 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points.
As for the team's effort, ``We started out sluggish, but got better in the third period and obviously when the chips were down, we made it count,'' said Fisher.
Blake had an impressive outing in his first game with the Leafs. He picked up an assist on Antropov's first goal.
``We generated enough offence, except for our power play,'' said Maurice. ``Defensively, we have to be better.''
The crowd got on Raycroft after Ottawa's second goal.
``I thought the first two (goals) were tough,'' said Maurice. ``They were good shots but . . . clearly he was not loved (by the crowd) early but I think he did a really good job settling into the game, and after that I thought he was very good.'' Notes:
On power plays, Ottawa was 0-for-4 and Toronto was 0-for-7. ... Mats Sundin picked up two assists to move within five points of Darryl Sittler's club-record 916. ... Redden hadn't been in a fight since the 2005-2006 season, and he was in only one that year. ... NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance. ... Joe Bowen, who has broadcast play-by-play of Leafs games for 25 years, was honoured in a pre-game ceremony. ... Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy sang the anthem. ... Wade Belak of the Leafs and Luke Richardson of the Senators were available healthy players who were scratched. ... The importance of a good start: the last 10 Stanley Cup champions had a combined October record of 78-17-14.
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