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game recap

Leafs keep Senators out of first with 3-1 win

Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 10:12 PM

Erin Nicks - NHL.com Correspondent

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Leafs keep Senators out of first with 3-1 win
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Ottawa Senators 1
Three Stars of the Game
Phil Kessel
1st
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 19:44
James Reimer
2nd
SA: 30TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 26-27
PIM: 0PP: 3-3
SV%: .967SH: 0-0
Jake Gardiner
3rd
G: 0Shots: 0
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 21:51
KANATA, Ont. -- The Toronto Maple Leafs made sure the Ottawa Senators' stay atop the Northeast Division didn't last long.

The Senators moved into the top spot by beating Montreal on Friday, but the Maple Leafs ensured that they didn't stay there by beating Ottawa 3-1 at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night. Boston's 3-2 shootout victory against Philadelphia earlier in the day dropped the Senators one point behind the Bruins for the division lead, and the loss to Toronto kept Ottawa from regaining first place.

Boston, which hosts Toronto on Monday, has a one-point lead and two games in hand over Ottawa.

Toronto goaltender James Reimer stopped 29 shots to improve to 5-1-1 lifetime against the Senators. He lost a chance for his third career shutout against the Senators when Colin Greening scored with 1:09 left in regulation.

"I have no idea why (I have so much success) in this building," Reimer said. "I think we just get up for these games. The (Senators) are one of our biggest opponents and we love to play (well) against them, especially in this environment. Leafs Nation comes out for us in full force."

Despite the excitement of another Battle of Ontario matchup, and a capacity crowd of 20,500 including large numbers of fans decked out in Leafs' blue and white, the game started off slowly. Toronto's best chance in the scoreless first period came at 5:02, when a drop pass from Phil Kessel landed on the stick of Clarke MacArthur, who snapped a shot that sailed over the top of goaltender Ben Bishop's glove.

Ottawa nearly got on the board at 15:59, when Rob Klinkhammer flew up the left wing and fired on Reimer, who made the stop but couldn't control the rebound, allowing Klinkhammer to scoop up his own rebound and nearly bury the puck behind Reimer's right skate.

Toronto grabbed the lead at 7:20 in the second period thanks to a lucky bounce. Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson attempted to clear the puck from behind his own net, but his pass hit the back of Bishop's skate and bounced into the net. Tim Connolly was given credit for the goal, his first in 11 games.

"It was just one of those unfortunate plays," Bishop said. "I stopped the puck and (Karlsson) was trying to make a play. It went off the back of my leg and I kind of carried it in. It was a weird thing."

The game took a physical turn midway through the second, as Nick Foligno and Luke Schenn battled along the right half-boards. As that scrap was taking place, Mikhail Grabovski and Chris Neil began to exchange punches, only to be separated by the linesmen. Both were given game misconducts for the secondary fight, and Grabovski was given an additional game misconduct for not having his jersey properly secured.

The Leafs made it 2-0 just 53 seconds into the third period during a 4-on-3 power play. Jake Gardiner controlled the puck at the point and fed Kessel at the top of the circle. He skated into the slot and snapped a shot through a screen and past Bishop's stick for his 35th goal of the season.

Toronto added an insurance goal at 12:02 during a 5-on-3 power play with Daniel Alfredsson and Kyle Turris in the box. Kessel skated across the point and dished the puck to Dion Phaneuf, who sent a rocket past Bishop's glove for his first goal in 12 games. Kessel has five goals and 11 points against the Senators.

Bishop stopped just 15 of 18 shots while losing in regulation for the first time in six starts since coming to Ottawa from St. Louis last month.

The Leafs and Senators split the six games in the Battle of Ontario this season, and all six took place after the Senators played the night before. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said fatigue had to be a factor when playing against their provincial rivals.

"There has to be," he said. "You're playing three games in four nights; we play back-to-back and they don't … there's a fatigue factor there. We don't make the schedule – we have to play the games when they're scheduled. But we're not using the back-to-back as an excuse."

"We're at that point in the season where everyone is a little bit tired," Karlsson said. "We had a rough game last night (against Montreal) and we didn't really reach our top level today, either. It's something we're going to have to work on if we're going to continue."
scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
07:20
TOR
Tim Connolly (11) Deflected shot - ASST: NONE
1 - 0 TOR
3rd Period
00:53
TOR
PPG - Phil Kessel (35) Snap shot - ASST: Jake Gardiner (18), Tyler Bozak (25)
2 - 0 TOR
12:02
TOR
PPG - Dion Phaneuf (10) Slapshot - ASST: Phil Kessel (40), Jake Gardiner (19)
3 - 0 TOR
18:51
OTT
Colin Greening (16) Tip-in - ASST: Filip Kuba (23), Jim O'Brien (3)
3 - 1 TOR
penalty summary
1st Period
11:22
OTT
Sergei Gonchar  Fighting (maj) against  Clarke MacArthur
11:22
TOR
Clarke MacArthur  Fighting (maj) against  Sergei Gonchar
18:03
TOR
Carter Ashton  Interference on goalkeeper against  Ben Bishop
2nd Period
13:23
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Game misconduct against  Chris Neil
13:23
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Game misconduct against  Chris Neil
13:23
OTT
Chris Neil  Game misconduct against  Mikhail Grabovski
13:23
OTT
Chris Neil  Fighting (maj) against  Mikhail Grabovski
13:23
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Neil
13:23
TOR
Luke Schenn  Fighting (maj) against  Nick Foligno
13:23
OTT
Nick Foligno  Fighting (maj) against  Luke Schenn
19:45
OTT
Zack Smith  Roughing against  Tim Connolly
19:45
TOR
Tim Connolly  Roughing against  Zack Smith
3rd Period
00:27
OTT
Jim O'Brien  Hooking against  Phil Kessel
01:24
TOR
David Steckel  Holding against  Erik Karlsson
02:23
TOR
Mike Komisarek  Roughing against  Milan Michalek
02:23
OTT
Milan Michalek  Roughing against  Mike Komisarek
02:34
TOR
Dion Phaneuf  Tripping against  Erik Karlsson
07:56
OTT
Nick Foligno  Holding the stick against  Carl Gunnarsson
11:07
OTT
Daniel Alfredsson  Slashing against  Phil Kessel
11:07
OTT
Nick Foligno  Too many men/ice - bench
15:31
TOR
Mike Komisarek  Roughing against  Nick Foligno
15:31
OTT
Nick Foligno  Roughing against  Mike Komisarek
15:31
TOR
Jay Rosehill  Misconduct (10 min) against  Nick Foligno
goalie stats
James Reimer
SA: 30TOI: 60:00
Saves: 29EV: 26 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .967SH: 0 - 0
Ben Bishop
SA: 18TOI: 58:18
Saves: 15EV: 13 - 14
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 3
SV%: .833SH: 1 - 1