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Heatley, Senators Down Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs



TORONTO (CP) --  It's only been a month since Dany Heatley played his first game for the Ottawa Senators, but he knows exactly what makes fans in the nation's capital happier than anything else _ wins over the hated Toronto Maple Leafs.

They must have been plenty thrilled on Saturday night.

Heatley put on a show fans in either city won't soon forget, scoring four goals as Ottawa skated to an easy 8-0 victory over the Maple Leafs.

"That's all they talk about,'' Heatley said, referring to Senators fans wanting their team to beat Toronto. "They're great fans back home.

"I'm looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.''

The feeling must be mutual.

Heatley has points (eight goals, eight assists) in all nine games he's played for Ottawa after being acquired from Atlanta in an off-season trade.

On Saturday, the 24-year-old forward had the third hat trick of his career before the game was half over and scored again in the third period for his first ever four-goal game.

"Heater was excellent tonight,'' said linemate Jason Spezza. "He was flying. I felt like a spectator.''

Added Heatley: "I'm having a lot of fun with this team.''

Dominik Hasek made 27 saves for the shutout while Mike Fisher, Chris Neil, Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Kelly also had goals for the Senators (8-1-0), who took over first place in the Northeast Division.

They don't have long to savour the victory. The Philadelphia Flyers visit the Corel Centre on Sunday.

"The rivalry is huge _ everybody talks about beating the Maple Leafs, but now it's over,'' said Hasek. "We needed this win and we need one tomorrow.''

Things are nowhere near as rosy in Toronto. The Maple Leafs, 5-4-2, have lost three of their past four games and didn't look like they even deserved to be on the same ice surface as the Senators on Saturday.

With a season-high crowd of 19,480 in attendance at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto's defence looked only marginally better than that of a peewee team.

"It was pretty lousy ... maybe worse than that,'' Leafs coach Pat Quinn said.

The pairing of Staffan Kronvall, playing his first NHL game in place of the injured Aki Berg, and Wade Belak was particularly putrid.

They had the best seats in the house when Heatley completed his hat trick just 4:19 into the second period. The duo was standing still when Spezza carried the puck out of the corner and passed it to Heatley, who wired a one-timer by a helpless Ed Belfour.

That was the end of the night for Toronto's 40-year-old netminder, who was mercifully pulled in favour of backup Mikael Tellqvist.

"They were on top of their game,'' Belfour said of the Sens. "We weren't.''

Heatley's fourth of the night came after he skated between Toronto's top defensive pairing of Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle and tucked the puck around Tellqvist at 5:33 of the third period.

There wasn't a single defencemen in blue and white who couldn't be blamed for at least one of Ottawa's goals.

"We got on their (defence) pretty considerably,'' Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "Things happen, these are freak games.

"It's not a normal game between these two teams.''

The speedy Sens looked good right from the opening faceoff.

Fisher started the scoring at 1:39 after defenceman Alexander Khavanov failed to cover him in the slot. Alfredsson had no trouble finding him with a pass, which Fisher quickly wristed by Belfour.

Neil made it 2-0 less than four minutes later when Peter Shaeffer skated right past Belak and Kronvall. Belfour poke-checked the puck off Shaeffer's stick, but Neil knocked the rebound in for his fifth goal of the season.

"I think we went into shock a little bit,'' Quinn said.

The shock showed when Chad Kilger and Matt Stajan took successive penalties while trying to slow down the dangerous Heatley.

With a 5-on-3 advantage, Heatley had plenty of room at the side of the goal to chip the puck over Belfour and make it 3-0 at 15:36.

"Everybody knows they're a good team _ probably the best in the league _ but we have to be better,'' Stajan said.

Boos cascaded down on the lacklustre Leafs as they headed to the locker-room trailing 3-0 after twenty minutes.

Goals 3:03 apart early in the second by Heatley quickly ended any hopes of a comeback. Long before Heatley, Alfredsson and Kelly scored third-period goals, many fans were already on their way home.

"Once we got ahead, there was no denying us,'' said Murray.

Added Hasek: "It was a very easy game.''

Notes: Brian Pothier (scratch) and Martin Havlat (suspension) didn't play for the Senators ... Berg (shoulder), Mariusz Czerkawski (shoulder), Nik Antropov (personal) and Mats Sundin (fractured left orbital bone) sat out for Toronto ... Sundin, wearing a visor, skated Saturday morning in full equipment for the first time since catching a puck in the face on opening night ... The teams don't face each other again until Dec. 17 in Ottawa.

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