Leafs Hang On After Wild Third

The Canadian Press | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs didn't allow a goal through their first five periods of the season.

Suddenly, their strong defensive game unravelled in a hurry.

The Maple Leafs almost wasted a hat trick by Phil Kessel on Saturday, surviving a furious Ottawa comeback to hang on for a 6-5 victory over the Senators.

Up 5-1 midway through the third period, Toronto sat back and watched as Ottawa jumped into the game.

``I'm hoping it was all a dream and I'm going to go out there for the third period,'' said James Reimer, who had his shutout streak broken at 101:42. ``But, you know what, a win's a win.

``It sure wasn't pretty, but the fans got their money's worth and we got the two points.''

Mikhail Grabovski, Joffrey Lupul and Colton Orr also scored for Toronto (2-0-0). Reimer made 27 saves for the win.

Kessel added an assist, while Lupul had two of his own.

Daniel Alfredsson scored twice for the Senators (0-2-0). Colin Greening, Jason Spezza and Stephane Da Costa, with his first in the NHL, had the other goals for Ottawa. Erik Karlsson chipped in with three assists.

Alex Auld took the loss in relief for Ottawa after allowing two goals on 11 shots in relief in the third period. Craig Anderson started and gave up four goals on 20 shots through two periods.

``We played good for 50 minutes and took our foot off the pedal,'' said Maple Leafs' captain Dion Phaneuf, who has three points in two games. ``We got to learn from that, but it's a big two points for our team and we'll take them.''

After Greening and Orr exchanged goals to start the third period, Alfredsson made it a 5-2 game at 11:04 with a short-handed breakaway goal after taking a clearing attempt coming out of the penalty box.

Then the Leafs gave the Senators a 5-on-3 man advantage and Ottawa struck with a pair of power-play goals eight seconds apart. Spezza scored at 15:36 and Alfredsson got his second of the game on a neat deflection.

Kessel completed his hat trick at 17:41, snapping a shot over Auld's glove hand on a 2-on-1 rush, and the Leafs looked to have quelched the Senators' comeback attempt.

But Ottawa struck back when Da Costa took a feed from Karlsson and scored at 18:06 to set up a wild end to the period.

The Senators pulled Auld for an extra attacker but couldn't quite complete the comeback as the Air Canada Centre crowd breathed a huge sigh of relief at the final buzzer.

The Leafs' letdown overshadowed a four-point night by Kessel, who continues to evolve into a more complete player.

``He played really well the last two months of last season and he's continuing where he left off,'' said head coach Ron Wilson. ``We've asked him to be a little more aggressive on the forecheck and he was doing that.

``Tonight he was getting in there really quick.''

Wilson rewarded Kessel for his hard work by putting the winger out to protect the 6-5 lead in the last minute of the game.

According to Phaneuf, the Leafs' star sniper has been Toronto's top player up front so far for the team.

``Phil has been extremely good for us both games,'' Phaneuf said. ``He's been one of our best forwards, if not our best.

``And not just scoring goals. He's been strong in both ends of the ice for us.''

Ottawa came out strong to open the game, but it was Toronto that took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Grabovski and Kessel.

The intensity between the provincial rivals picked up in the second period.

Phaneuf drew a crowd of Senators after he delivered a huge hit on Da Costa cutting into the middle of the ice, knocking his helmet off. Phaneuf wasn't assessed a penalty for the hit.

``That's one thing that bugs me,'' he said. ``You make a clean hit and guys come in and expect you to fight.

``I don't have anything to prove to them. I'm going to play style that I play.''

After the hit, Chris Neil went looking for retribution against Luke Schenn.

``You don't like to see one of your teammates get hit like that,'' Neil said. ``It was a pretty big hit for them.''

Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean, however, saw no problem with the hit.

``You have to accept a certain amount of risk when you play this game,'' he said. ``I know I'd never come across (the middle of the ice) like that.

``I thought the hit was clean and I expected no other response other than the one we had on the ice.''

Neil got 19 minutes in penalties for starting the fight and the Leafs capitalized at 7:56 with another power-play goal.

John-Michael Liles' shot from the point was deflected past Anderson by Lupul.

Toronto took a 4-0 lead into the second intermission when Kessel scored his second of the game after taking a nifty pass from Tyler Bozak and deking around Anderson.

The Leafs' top line of Lupul, Bozak and Kessel finished with eight points.

Toronto went 2-for-9 with the man advantage, while Ottawa wound up 2-for-8.

Notes: The Senators lost their season opener 5-3 in Detroit on Friday. ... Orr took Jay Rosehill's spot in the lineup for Toronto. ... Ottawa plays back-to-back games 16 times this season. ... The Maple Leafs started the season tied for the second youngest roster (26.3) in the league behind the Nashville Predators. ... The Leafs have a week off until they play again when the Calgary Flames come to town next Saturday. The Senators return to Ottawa for their home opener Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. ... Announced attendance was 19,324.

Saturday, October 15
vs. Calgary Flames   7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)

The Maple Leafs will continue their five-game homestand as they have a full week off before welcoming the Calgary Flames to town. Starting on Monday, the Leafs will be in Trenton, Ontario for three days of bonding and practice.

When the Flames are here next Saturday, it will be the final game of their three-game road trip. They make stops in St. Louis and Montreal prior to playing the Leafs.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
12:58TOR PPG - Mikhail Grabovski (1) ASST: Nikolay Kulemin (1), Dion Phaneuf (2) 1 - 0 TOR
18:51TOR Phil Kessel (1) ASST: Joffrey Lupul (2), Carl Gunnarsson (1) 2 - 0 TOR
2nd Period
07:56TOR PPG - Joffrey Lupul (1) ASST: John-Michael Liles (1), Phil Kessel (2) 3 - 0 TOR
18:49TOR Phil Kessel (2) ASST: Tyler Bozak (1), Joffrey Lupul (3) 4 - 0 TOR
3rd Period
01:42OTT Colin Greening (1) ASST: Sergei Gonchar (1), Jason Spezza (3) 4 - 1 TOR
02:52TOR Colton Orr (1) ASST: Mike Brown (2) 5 - 1 TOR
11:04OTT SHG - Daniel Alfredsson (1) ASST: Chris Phillips (1), Zack Smith (1) 5 - 2 TOR
15:36OTT PPG - Jason Spezza (1) ASST: Milan Michalek (1), Erik Karlsson (2) 5 - 3 TOR
15:44OTT PPG - Daniel Alfredsson (2) ASST: Erik Karlsson (3) 5 - 4 TOR
17:41TOR Phil Kessel (3) ASST: Matthew Lombardi (1), Luke Schenn (1) 6 - 4 TOR
18:06OTT Stephane Da Costa (1) ASST: Erik Karlsson (4) 6 - 5 TOR
Three Stars of the Game
Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel
G: 3Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 4PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 19:43
Dion Phaneuf
Dion Phaneuf
G: 0Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 4
+/-: 2TOI: 26:56
Daniel Alfredsson
Daniel Alfredsson
G: 2Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: -1TOI: 20:16
Penalty Summary
1st Period
02:58TOR Luke Schenn  Roughing against  Nikita Filatov
05:42TOR Mike Brown  Fighting (maj) against  Zenon Konopka
05:42OTT Zenon Konopka  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Brown
08:12TOR Joffrey Lupul  Tripping against  Jared Cowen
11:47OTT Jared Cowen  Hi stick - double minor against  Colby Armstrong
2nd Period
03:14OTT Nick Foligno  Roughing against  Dion Phaneuf
04:28TOR Joffrey Lupul  Roughing against  Jared Cowen
06:33OTT Chris Neil  Misconduct (10 min) against  Luke Schenn
06:33OTT Chris Neil  Instigator against  Luke Schenn
06:33TOR Luke Schenn  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Neil
06:33OTT Chris Neil  Fighting (maj) against  Luke Schenn
06:33OTT Chris Neil  Roughing against  Luke Schenn
11:21TOR Mike Komisarek  Interference against  Zenon Konopka
3rd Period
03:01TOR Mikhail Grabovski  Hooking against  Stephane Da Costa
04:20OTT Erik Karlsson  Tripping against  Mike Brown
07:12OTT Nikita Filatov  Hooking against  Colton Orr
08:57OTT Daniel Alfredsson  Tripping against  Mikhail Grabovski
09:10OTT Zenon Konopka  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
14:19OTT Zack Smith  Roughing against  Mike Komisarek
14:19TOR Mike Komisarek  Hi-sticking against  Zack Smith
14:19TOR Mike Komisarek  Roughing against  Zack Smith
14:25TOR Dion Phaneuf  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
19:53TOR Dion Phaneuf  Hooking against  Jason Spezza
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays2/82/9
Faceoff Wins3439
Blocked Shots816
Penalty Minutes4028
2J. CowenD00-10416:41
4C. PhillipsD0111018:28
5B. LeeD0001016:06
9M. MichalekL0104021:27
11D. AlfredssonR20-14220:16
14C. GreeningC1012013:25
15Z. SmithC0112210:56
17F. KubaD0011019:22
19J. SpezzaC1105023:01
21N. FilatovL0000212:32
22E. CondraR0002013:20
24S. Da CostaC10-24012:19
25C. NeilR0001196:35
28Z. KonopkaC00-1076:28
55S. GoncharD01-10023:29
65E. KarlssonD03-21226:08
71N. FolignoL00-31212:34
93M. ZibanejadC0013011:14
35A. Auld911.81819:05
41C. Anderson2024.83340:00
2L. SchennD0110718:17
3D. PhaneufD0124426:56
8M. KomisarekD00-20616:00
9C. ArmstrongR00-20012:35
11P. DupuisC00-12013:42
15M. LombardiC0111010:28
18M. BrownR011256:45
19J. LupulL1223417:02
20D. SteckelC00-11016:54
24J. LilesD0123023:43
28C. OrrR101102:59
36C. GunnarssonD0111023:00
39M. FrattinR00-13014:59
41N. KuleminL01-11017:39
42T. BozakC0121016:44
51J. GardinerD00-22012:02
81P. KesselR3134019:43
84M. GrabovskiC10-16217:53
34J. Reimer2732.84459:56