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Penalties, Penalties & More Penalties

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
December 17, 2005


OTTAWA (CP) -- After being embarrassed 8-0 the last time they faced the Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs fared only slightly better Saturday.

Toronto's frequent trips to the penalty box and poor penalty killing allowed the Senators to ring up a franchise-record six power-play goals en route to an 8-2 in front of 19,953, the largest-ever crowd at the Corel Centre.

"We started to take penalties and obviously we weren't doing a very good job of killing them, that's why the score was embarrassing as it is,'' Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "They're a skilled team and if you take penalties and then miss a lot of plays like we did tonight, then you get the kind of result that we got.''

Dany Heatley, Wade Redden, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly all scored with the man advantage as the Senators finished 6-for-11 on the power play to eclipse the team's previous high of five power-play goals set in 2003.

"The power play's been up and down a bit the whole year, so we got a few more tonight,'' said Redden, who, along with Spezza and Alfredsson, also had a pair of assists.

Mike Fisher broke a 1-1 tie with the teams playing four-aside hockey in the second period and then Senators took over from there, jumping to an eventual 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.

Bryan Smolinski also scored for Ottawa (23-5-2). The win allowed the Senators to break out of a mini-slump in which they had won just one of their four previous contests and improve to 4-0 on the year against Toronto (16-13-3).

Dominik Hasek stopped 27 shots in goal.

"We capitalized big tonight,'' Alfredsson said. "We skated better than we have in a while. We moved the puck well and we were taking the shots when we had them as well. It was clicking pretty good. We did a lot of good things tonight to make it tough on them.''

While Redden was back in the lineup for the first time after missing the past 10 games with a sprained knee, the Leafs were without the injured Eric Lindros (wrist), Tie Domi (shoulder) and Nik Antropov (knee).

Mariusz Czerkawski, with his first goal as a Leaf since signing as an unrestricted free agent in September, scored on a power play and Bryan McCabe had the other Toronto marker.

The Leafs went 1-for-6 with the man advantage.

Ed Belfour, looking to move past Terry Sawchuk on the NHL's all-time goaltending wins list, failed to do so for the fifth straight start. He made 35 saves, but hasn't won since Nov. 28 and remains stuck at 447 career victories.

Toronto has just one win in its last five outings and two victories in the past seven games.

"It was very frustrating. Too many penalties on our part and things went their way,'' said Belfour, who gave up five goals on 15 shots in the 8-0 defeat at the Air Canada Centre on Oct. 29. "It seems like they have some really good games against us. I don't think the refs helped us too much tonight.''

Belfour's frustration spilled over late in the game when he took a swing at Spezza following a whistle, sparking a fight between Spezza and Colaiacovo.

Spezza was given an instigator penalty for the fight with 3:36 remaining, which means he'll receive an automatic one-game suspension and Senators coach Bryan Murray will be fined $10,000. It's the second time this month that's happened after Zdeno Chara met the same fate against the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 2.

Spezza felt he was speared during the incident and is hoping the automatic suspension might be reviewed by the league and overturned under the circumstances.

"I was pretty angry,'' he said. "Nobody takes any liberties on me. I wasn't really thinking about (the suspension).''

The Senators also received a blow when rookie right-winger Brandon Bochenski crashed into the boards in the second period and left the game with an injury to his right shoulder and didn't return. His status wasn't immediately known.

Czerkawski, who signed with Toronto for $500,000 U.S., hadn't dressed since Nov. 25 and was playing for just the eighth time this season because of injury and general ineffectiveness.

After finding the back of the net in the NHL for the first time since April 2, 2004, he stood in one spot and tilted his head back, screaming and pumping his fists.

The celebrations didn't last after the Leafs took three straight minor penalties before the first was over, however, and on the final opportunity with the man advantage, Heatley had several whacks at a rebound before finally lifting it over Belfour to tie the game.

In the second, Toronto ran into more penalty trouble and, after Fisher was left alone in front to take a pass from Bryan Smolinski and put the Senators ahead 2-1, eight minutes in, Redden and Spezza each capitalized on power-play opportunities to make it 4-1.

McCabe and Smolinski, from an extreme angle, exchanged goals 37 seconds apart early in the third before Alfredsson and Vermette scored, the first coming with the Leafs two men short and the second before the latter penalty had expired.

Kelly rounded at the scoring with 18 seconds to go.

"I had some mixed feelings. Coming back, I got so excited, then we lose again, eight goals,'' Czerkawski said. "We thought we played pretty well and it was 1-1, then those power-play goals for them.''

Notes: With Martin Havlat out for at least the remainder of the regular season with a shoulder injury, Ottawa also made healthy scratches of defenceman Christoph Schubert and right-winger Patrick Eaves, both rookies ... The Senators are 13-1-0 versus Northeast Divison opponents ... Tough guys Wade Belak for Toronto and Brian McGrattan for Ottawa both suited up after being made a healthy scratch in their teams' last games ... The Senators are in Montreal on Tuesday ... The Leafs play host to the New York Islanders on Monday night.

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