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Leafs vs. Senators preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Ottawa Senators get an early chance to gain a small measure of revenge when they visit the Air Canada Centre to face their provincial rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ottawa took three of five games from Toronto in the 2001-02 season, but for the third straight year lost to the Maple Leafs in the playoffs.

The Senators were dominant in the first round of the playoffs in April as they yielded just two goals in dispatching the second-seeded Philadelphia Flyers in five games. But in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Ottawa blew a three games to two lead and was ousted by Toronto here on May 14 Curtis Joseph turned away 19 shots and Alexander Mogilny scored twice to lead the Maple Leafs to a 3-0 victory.

The Maple Leafs followed that with a third straight seven-game series, which they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals. Joseph then departed to sign with the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the Maple Leafs replaced him with former Dallas Star Ed Belfour.

Belfour made his Toronto debut Thursday and turned away 33 shots for his 59th career shutout in a 6-0 rout of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mogilny had two goals and an assist and linemate Mats Sundin also tallied twice. Mogilny became the 77th player in NHL history to reach the 900-point plateau, while Sundin got his 399th career goal.

Ottawa opened its season Thursday against the only other team it has won a playoff series against and suffered a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Daniel Alfredsson scored with 1:46 remaining, but the Senators could not get the equalizer and fell to 9-20-4 against goalie Martin Brodeur.

The Senators had been 3-0-3 in their last six season openers since beginning the 1995-96 campaign with consecutive defeats.
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