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Leafs Can't Come Back on Sens

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
January 23, 2006

-- It wasn't an embarrassment, and that was just about victory enough for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For the Ottawa Senators, it was business as usual.

Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist while linemate Dany Heatley collected two assists on Monday night as the Senators edged Toronto 4-3.

"The end result is we still didn't win,'' said Leafs coach Pat Quinn, whose team lost 8-0, 8-2 and 7-0 in its past three games against Ottawa.

Ed Belfour had 18 saves on the night
(A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC)

"We played a lot better and so that has to be looked at as an improvement, especially over Saturday night (when they lost 7-0).''

Wade Redden, Bryan Smolinski and Mike Fisher also had goals for the Senators (33-10-4). Ottawa has won all six games against the Maple Leafs this year and outscored them 36-12.

"I think we're ready to play them when the puck drops and we're expecting a battle for 60 minutes,'' said Alfredsson, who has scored eight goals against the Maple Leafs this year. "When we do play 60 minutes, we're a tough team to beat.''

Tie Domi, Kyle Wellwood and Nik Antropov scored for the Maple Leafs (24-20-3), who lost their sixth straight game. It's Toronto's longest losing streak since they dropped seven straight in January 1997.

Quinn thinks his team could have won some of those games.

"We weren't that bad in the other games but it was not good enough to win, I guess,'' he said.

Toronto defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo sustained a concussion during the first period and was taken off the ice on a stretcher after his head struck the boards following a collision with Ottawa's Vaclav Varada 5:29 in.

Quinn felt that Varada was responsible for the injury.

"They said it was inadvertent but if you check it and look at it, it wasn't inadvertent,'' Quinn said. "He took the kid's feet out.''

The Senators got a pair of even strength goals in the first by Fisher and Alfredsson, who reached 30 goals for the third time in the last four seasons when he scored at 16:32 to make it 2-0.

"Maybe it's not as big a benchmark as it used to be a few years ago but it's nice and I think there's more to come,'' Alfredsson said.

Domi, who fought with Chris Neil shortly after Alfredsson's goal, drew Toronto to within 2-1 when he beat Hasek from the edge of the crease 8:09 into the second.

Redden restored Ottawa's two-goal lead with his eighth of the season on a power play 3:08 into the third, moments after Jason Spezza hit the post.

Redden was given a delay of game penalty at 4:01 after he flipped a shot from the Senators' zone through the Maple Leafs' bench and into the crowd. Ottawa coach Bryan Murray complained while the penalty was announced. Redden had already sat in the box when referee Ian Walsh reversed the call, announcing to the crowd that the puck had gone into the Toronto bench.

"It's never happened before,'' Redden said of his brief banishment. "I guess there was a little confusion on everyone's part.''

Quinn argued the reversal to no avail and Smolinski scored his 10th shortly thereafter at 5:53 to put Ottawa up 4-1.

But the Leafs rallied, starting with Wellwood's goal at 11:37 when he scored on a rebound after goalie Dominik Hasek made two saves. Antropov was behind the net when he jammed a loose puck past Hasek with 2:11 to play to make it 4-3.

The Maple Leafs called a timeout and pulled Belfour in the final minute, but were unable to beat Hasek despite a frantic scramble.

"There were still a lot of mistakes but at least we gave ourselves a chance to earn a point at the end of the game,'' Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. "It's tough to compare to the previous because there was nothing that was good in that game.

"We made some progress and if we can play like we did we'll turn this thing around.''

Fisher wasn't surprised the Leafs put in a better effort Monday.

"We obviously expected them to come out a lot harder and respond,'' he said. "They played a lot harder and challenged us.

"We got a lead and they kept coming back but we able to play pretty good at the end and with Dom's help we were able to pull out a victory.''

Notes: Colaiacovo returned to Toronto with the team ... Maple Leafs D Wade Belak and Senators RW Brian McGrattan fought in the second period ... The crowd booed the Liberal party's lead when early results of the Canadian election were shown on the scoreboard during the third period. The reaction turned to mild applause when results late in the period showed a slight lead for the Conservative party ... Alfredsson had a career-high 37 goals in 2001-02 and 32 in 2003-04.


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