Leafs Skate Over Senators
The Canadian Press
November 17, 2007
-- Goals by Darcy Tucker, Jiri Tlusty and Mats Sundin and the 22-save shutout goaltending of Vesa Toskala gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Sundin's goal was his 533rd, tying him with Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Mahovlich for 27th place on the all-time NHL list.
Toskala's perfect game was his first since Oct. 25 against Columbus when he played for San Jose.
The win was the Leafs' eighth in 21 games and with 21 points they inched back to .500 while halting a five-game home winless streak.
Bryan McCabe had a strong game on defence and was selected the game's first star.
The Senators lost for only the third time in their 18 games and remained No. 1 overall with 30 points. Their only previous losses were to Carolina and Washington.
Martin Gerber was the losing goaltender for only the second time in 14 appearances.
This was a close-checking yawner until the sixth minute of the second period, when Alex Steen had a shot clang off an Ottawa post and the Senators broke back the other way on a 3-on-1 rush only to have Toskala make a huge save.
Neither team could do anything with manpower advantages Ottawa was 0-for-4 and Toronto was 0-2 until Tucker connected on a power play at 19:15 of the second. Luke Richardson was off for holding.
Gerber was on his knees beyond the top of his crease after stopping a McCabe blast when Tucker slipped the rebound into the open net. It was only the second goal of the season for Tucker, who hadn't scored since Oct. 13 and not since recovering from a knee injury that took him out of seven games.
The Senators managed 14 shots none by Dany Heatley or Jason Spezza and the Leafs only 10 through 40 minutes.
The Leafs scored another power-play goal after Wade Redden was sent off for interference at 6:03 of the third. Sundin got his 10th by slapping a shot from the top of the circle to the right of Gerber. The puck found a small gap between the goalie's right leg and the post. Kyle Wellwood, positioned at the side of the crease should a deflection chance arise, might have distracted Gerber.
After getting just 12 goals during 94 manpower advantages in their previous 20 games an efficiency rate of 12.8 per cent that put them 29th among the 30 teams the Leafs had scored two in a row.
Tlusty, who hadn't scored in nine games since getting two in his NHL debut Oct. 25, in Pittsburgh, made it 3-0 at 15:55. Gerber dove expecting Tlusty to try to put in a rebound but the 19-year-old Czech fooled him by circling behind the net and emerging on the other side for an easy wrist shot into the open net.
Daniel Alfredsson, booed each time he touched the puck, entered the game with 15 goals including six in previous four games. But he couldn't beat Toskala.
The Leafs had lost their previous three games. They wanted this one bad, and they got it.
Notes: Ottawa finished with a 22-18 shots edge. ... Sundin won the majority of the faceoffs he took. ... The announced crowd of 19,596 was a season high although there were hundreds of empty seats as season ticket subscribers didn't bother to use them or give them away. ... John Pohl, who'd sat out the Leafs' previous four games, replaced Chad Kilger, who hurt a leg in practice Friday. ... Toronto plays at home against Boston on Tuesday and is at Dallas on Friday and at Phoenix on Saturday. ... The Senators are at Montreal on Monday and at Buffalo on Wednesday.
|Three star selections