Kadri nets hat trick as Maple Leafs blank Senators
Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 5:25 AM
Erin Nicks - NHL.com CorrespondentOTTAWA
-- The red-hot duo of Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri took over the Battle of Ontario on Saturday night as Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators 4-0 at Scotiabank Place.
Kadri had his second hat trick of the season, scoring his second and third goals of the night in a span of 2:04 in the third period to blow the game open. Lupul scored the game's first goal and assisted on all three of Kadri's -- and Kadri assisted on Lupul's goal as both players finished with four-point game.
Kadri was all smiles after the victory, which came with plenty of blue-and-white jerseys in the packed house at Scotiabank Place.
"Leafs Nation is everywhere," Kadri said. "We obviously appreciate the support and want to give back as much as we can. To see everyone, especially at the start of the game with that 'Go Leafs Go' chant and to hear it throughout the whole building, it kind of got everyone going. We took advantage of that."
Lupul also scored his third consecutive game-winning goal. He has five goals and four assists in his past four games, while Kadri has six goals and eight assists in his past eight games.
Kadri, the game's first star, had nothing but praise for his linemate.
"[Lupul] is a high caliber hockey player," Kadri said. "It's really easy to play with him, and it always seems like he's in the right places at the right time, even sometimes when you're not. He's got a great skill set and we're on the same page offensively -- and I think that's half the reason why it's going so well."
Toronto's third consecutive victory gives the Maple Leafs 44 points, the same number as Ottawa; the Senators are fifth in the East and Toronto is sixth because they've played one fewer game.
James Reimer continued to dominate the Senators, making 31 saves for his second shutout of the season. He has a career record of 7-1-1 against Ottawa, including 5-0-0 at Scotiabank Place.
"It's a fun place to place to play," Reimer said. "With the Leafs and Sens fans, it's easy to get up for [it.]"
Ottawa's Ben Bishop made 19 saves as his four-game winning streak ended.
The atmosphere was electric for the latest matchup between the provincial rivals, with three fights taking place in a wild first period. Matt Kassian dropped the gloves against Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren in separate scraps, while Colin Greening fought with Mark Fraser.
The Leafs took the lead on their first power play. Daniel Alfredsson was called for hooking Michael Kostka at 2:03, and a minute later, Kadri's shot from the top of the right circle was tipped by Lupul and went through Bishop's five-hole.
"They were leaving me alone for a bit," Lupul said. "[Kadri] had the puck for a while, and I thought to myself, ‘If he throws it down to me, I'm going to try and tip it five-hole.' We watched some video on [Bishop]; he's a big goalie with a lot of five-hole goals [scored] on him. I thought I'd give it a try."
Ottawa took seven minutes to get a shot on Reimer, but then had several chances in the remainder of the opening period. Reimer closed his pads to stop Guillaume Latendresse on a breakaway near the eight-minute mark. Jim O'Brien rifled a shot from the slot with seven minutes left that hit the crossbar, and a broken play with five minutes left turned into a shot by Chris Neil that appeared to have Reimer beat. Greening, who was standing to the right of Reimer, tipped the puck into the net, but the referee whistled the play dead prior to the puck crossing the goal line.
The work by the Leafs in the first period pleased coach Randy Carlyle.
"I think we had a great start, and that's one of the things we've been focusing on," Carlyle said. "Any time you can get a decent start on the road, it puts more pressure on the home team to perform. We were going to be sure to draw the first power play, create the first scoring chance, and have it be a night of firsts for us. We got some performances from some individuals; James Reimer was there to make the stops for us when we left him abandoned.
"[Reimer] made some big stops. One thing that was big early in the game – one wrist shot [from O'Brien] hit the crossbar, and it gave us a little bit of a shiver."
The Leafs made it 2-0 in the second on a play that began 200 feet from the Senators' net. Neil tripped John-Michael Liles in the Toronto zone, which led to a delayed penalty. Reimer left his net for an extra attacker, and after a scramble in front of the net, Lupul deflected the puck with his skate to a wide-open Kadri, who was waiting to the right of Bishop. Kadri easily tipped the puck into the net at 12:45.
The Battle of Ontario shutout dampened the spirits of the Senators, who had won six out of their past seven games prior to Saturday. Latendresse insisted the team needed to shake off the loss and learn from it.
"In the first period I don't think we were in the game, but like we say, we're a young team and we keep learning," Latendresse said. "These games are tough and when you're a young guy sometimes you try to do too much so we have to make sure that we keep focusing on good things.
"When we win, we say, ‘We just have to get ready for the next game.' Well, when we lose we have to do the same thing."