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game recap

Short-handed Leafs Overpowered By Senators

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

The Canadian Press

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Short-handed Leafs Overpowered By Senators
Ottawa Senators 8, Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Scoring | Stats | Photos Pre | Bell Hits Alfie | Game in 6 | Clips | Post

(TORONTO) -- His team had just picked up two huge points in the standings _ possibly saving their season _ but Bryan Murray was fuming.

The Ottawa head coach doesn't know when he'll get Daniel Alfredsson back in his lineup after the star captain was injured by a borderline hit from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mark Bell during Thursday's 8-2 Senators rout.

``I didn't like the hit,'' Murray said. ``I thought he was blind-sighted. The knee came out, and it was a hit to the head.''

Countered Leafs head coach Paul Maurice: ``We should've seen a lot more of those during the course of the year. It was a good hit. It was clean.''

Who says the Battle of Ontario is dead? 

Ottawa star Dany Heatley, who had two goals in Thursday's win, said most players let up when they have a player in Alfredsson's position who is in a vulnerable spot after letting go of the puck.

``It's borderline dirty when you do that,'' Heatley said of Bell.

The Leafs centre disagreed.

``It was a clean hit, guy cutting across the middle, takes a shot, I hit him,'' said Bell.

When asked if there was an elbow that connected with Alfredsson, Bell replied: ``No, I hit him with my shoulder.''

Either way, the hit seemed to spark the Senators, who were ahead 2-1 late in the first period when the hit happened.

``That definitely got us going,'' said Heatley. ``That's our captain.''

Murray said Alfredsson had ``a bit of a knee problem'' and an upper body injury (likely a head injury) and almost surely won't play in Friday's regular-season finale at home to Boston. The question is, will Alfredsson be back in time for the first round of the playoffs next week? The team was expected to provide another update on Alfredsson on Friday.

The Senators also lost centre Mike

Fisher to a knee injury early in the first period.

So it was a costly win, but a crucial one nonetheless for an Ottawa club that was fading badly and threatening to miss the playoffs. A point in Friday's game will clinch a playoff berth for the Senators.

``It was a big win,'' said Murray. ``We had to get to the two points so this was huge. Now we have to go home and do the same against Boston.''

Antoine Vermette had his first career hat trick while Dean McAmmond, Cody Bass and Jason Spezza also scored for the Senators, who were under intense scrutiny from fans and media in Ottawa this week for their late-season tumble down the standings.

A loss on Thursday night would have left the Sens dangling on the playoff bubble. But the win kept Ottawa in sixth place in the Eastern Conference at 94 points, three ahead of ninth-place Philadelphia. Boston and Washington occupy the last two playoff spots at 92 points. The Capitals moved ahead of the Flyers after a 4-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Bell and Dominic Moore scored for the Leafs, who fittingly ended their home schedule with a thorough beating in their third consecutive season outside of the playoffs. They also gave up three short-handed goals on the night.

``It's a real disappointing end,'' Maurice of his team's performance in the last home game.

Fans in Toronto were excited about Thursday's game, hoping to inflict some pain on their hated provincial rivals. Instead, the Senators recovered from a slow start and played one of their best games since the all-star break, looking one step ahead of the Leafs all night long.

``We gave up the first goal tonight which is always a concern given the way we've played lately,'' said Murray. ``But we held together. The guys were great on the bench. We stuck with it.''

Vesa Toskala got shelled in the Toronto net, giving up eight goals on 37 shots, although he didn't get much help from his teammates. Martin Gerber got the win in goal for Ottawa, stopping 26 shots.

Bell opened the scoring at 6:30 of the first period, snapping a wrist shot past Gerber's glove side to make it 1-0 Leafs as the Air Canada Centre exploded in agreement. But that's when the fun stopped for Leaf fans.

Ottawa got into the game when Heatley's one-timer on a Sens power play made it 1-1 at 11:12. It was only Ottawa's second shot of the game. The Sens took the lead 2-1 with 2:45 to go when Alfredsson picked up his second assist with a nice feed to Spezza on a 3-on-1.

Then came the Bell hit on Alfredsson. The Sens were out for blood after that. Ottawa winger Shean Donovan induced a fight with Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe, while moments later Bass pummelled Leafs forward John Pohl in another.

Alfredsson played one shift in the second period before heading back to the dressing room, obviously still feeling the effects of the Bell hit.

No need for Alfie to play hurt, his teammates could handle the Leafs without him.

Bass scored a short-handed goal 6:03 into the second period, completing a nice feed from Chris Phillips. Vermette himself then took care of business with a pair of rebound goals, one on a power play at 14:01 and the other a back breaker at 19:33, making it 5-1 Senators after 40 minutes.

McAmmond and Vermette made it embarrassing for the home side when they scored short-handed goals on the same Leaf power play early in the third period. McAmmond scored on a partial breakaway at 2:27 while Vermette put in his own rebound at 3:11 after Toskala stopped his first two attempts.

Moore made it 7-2 at 6:51 but Heatley restored the six-goal lead 23 seconds later.

Notes: Veteran winger Cory Stillman returned to the Ottawa lineup after missing two games with a leg injury ... The Leafs were once again without top scorers Mats Sundin (groin) and Nik Antropov (knee). The Leafs close out their regular season Saturday night at Montreal with backup Andrew Raycroft in net for the Leafs... It was the third time in franchise history the Sens scored three short-handed goals in a game.

scoring summary
1st Period
07:30
TOR
Mark Bell (3) ASST: Darcy Tucker (15)
1 - 0 TOR
11:12
OTT
PPG - Dany Heatley (40) ASST: Daniel Alfredsson (48), Jason Spezza (57)
1 - 1 Tie
17:15
OTT
Jason Spezza (34) ASST: Daniel Alfredsson (49)
2 - 1 OTT
2nd Period
06:03
OTT
SHG - Cody Bass (2) ASST: Chris Phillips (13), Antoine Vermette (29)
3 - 1 OTT
14:01
OTT
PPG - Antoine Vermette (21) ASST: Christoph Schubert (16), Wade Redden (32)
4 - 1 OTT
19:33
OTT
Antoine Vermette (22) ASST: Cory Stillman (41), Shean Donovan (6)
5 - 1 OTT
3rd Period
02:27
OTT
SHG - Dean McAmmond (9) ASST: NONE
6 - 1 OTT
03:11
OTT
SHG - Antoine Vermette (23) ASST: Cody Bass (2), Brian Lee (1)
7 - 1 OTT
06:51
TOR
PPG - Dominic Moore (5) ASST: Darcy Tucker (16), Pavel Kubina (29)
7 - 2 OTT
07:14
OTT
Dany Heatley (41) ASST: Jason Spezza (58), Martin Lapointe (7)
8 - 2 OTT
penalty summary
1st Period
05:14
TOR
Dominic Moore  Holding the stick against  Andrej Meszaros
09:52
TOR
Darcy Tucker  Holding against  Chris Phillips
13:13
OTT
Mike Commodore  Elbowing against  Kris Newbury
17:47
TOR
Darcy Tucker  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Dany Heatley
17:47
OTT
Dany Heatley  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Darcy Tucker
19:59
OTT
Shean Donovan  Fighting (maj) against  Bryan McCabe
19:59
TOR
Bryan McCabe  Fighting (maj) against  Shean Donovan
20:00
OTT
Cody Bass  Roughing against  John Pohl
20:00
OTT
Cody Bass  Roughing against  John Pohl
20:00
TOR
John Pohl  Roughing against  Cody Bass
20:00
TOR
Kris Newbury  Misconduct (10 min) against  Chris Neil
20:00
OTT
Chris Neil  Misconduct (10 min) against  Kris Newbury
2nd Period
05:23
OTT
Jason Spezza  Hooking against  Alexei Ponikarovsky
08:58
TOR
Ian White  Tripping against  Shean Donovan
12:05
TOR
Mark Bell  Tripping against  Wade Redden
15:08
OTT
Cody Bass  Hooking against  Staffan Kronwall
3rd Period
01:54
OTT
Dany Heatley  Slashing against  Matt Stajan
05:01
OTT
Chris Neil  Hooking against  Boyd Devereaux
10:14
TOR
Jason Blake  Slashing against  Mike Commodore
10:14
OTT
Mike Commodore  Cross checking against  Jason Blake
15:27
OTT
Martin Lapointe  Roughing against  Jason Blake
15:27
OTT
Martin Lapointe  Misconduct (10 min) against  Jason Blake
15:27
TOR
Jason Blake  Roughing against  Martin Lapointe
16:44
TOR
Pavel Kubina  Interference against  Chris Neil
16:44
TOR
Pavel Kubina  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Chris Neil
20:00
TOR
Pavel Kubina  Misconduct (10 min)
20:00
TOR
Pavel Kubina  Game misconduct
goalie stats
Martin Gerber
SA: 28TOI: 59:56
Saves: 26EV: 16 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 10
SV%: .929SH: 1 - 1
Vesa Toskala
SA: 37TOI: 60:00
Saves: 29EV: 18 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 11
SV%: .784SH: 2 - 5
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