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Plenty Of Missed Opportunities For Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO -- Craig Anderson kept up his stellar play and the Ottawa Senators avoided their first two-game losing streak in two months.

The Senators goalie made 37 saves Tuesday to backstop his team to a 3-2 victory over the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

Anderson has been virtually unbeatable in January, compiling a 7-1-1 record and .945 save percentage. As a result, the Senators have climbed to fifth in the Eastern Conference and now hold an nine-point advantage over the ninth-place Leafs with three games in hand.

Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa (26-16-6), which hasn't dropped consecutive games in regulation since Nov. 9 and 11.

Matthew Lombardi and Joffrey Lupul replied for the Maple Leafs (22-18-5).

With both teams part of the tight playoff race for the first time in years, the Battle of Ontario appears to be approaching the intensity it used to be known for. The game featured two fights, including one between Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and Nick Foligno in the second period that came six minutes after the Senators forward laid Phaneuf out with a low hit.

Toronto got off to the fast start it wanted against a Senators team playing for the second time in as many nights.

Lombardi beat Anderson with a shot through the legs at 6:50, giving him his first goal in a 17-game span dating back to Oct. 27. Lupul extended that advantage less than 10 minutes later after taking a lovely pass from Phil Kessel on a 2-on-1 rush.

Ottawa had been outplayed to that point, but Alfredsson gave them some life just before the intermission. The captain took a pass from Milan Michalek and backhanded a shot over James Reimer with 7.5 seconds left in the period.

Spezza tied the score at 16:46 of the second period on a play that needed video review. He reached his stick over Reimer and just got a piece of a shot that teammate Kaspars Daugavins had kicked towards the empty net.

However, the best performer of the period was Anderson, who stopped all 21 shots the Leafs directed at him. None of them were spectacular _ he was also fortunate to have Lupul hit the post _ but it was exactly what his team needed to earn two valuable points against a division rival.

Turris ensured it would happen when he raced in and beat Reimer with a high shot at 1:24. The centre has 11 points in 15 games since being acquired in a trade from Phoenix.

From there, Anderson and the Sens managed to shut the door on the frustrated Leafs.

The victory came at an important time in the schedule as Ottawa faces four more road games before hosting the all-star game later this month. They visit San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Phoenix before the mid-season break.

Andre Petersson and Mark Borowiecki sat out for the Senators ... Nazem Kadri was a healthy scratch for Toronto. He had one assist in his last seven games ... It was Reimer's first start since a Dec. 31 loss in Winnipeg ... Alfredsson's goal was his 32nd in 73 career games against Toronto ... The teams meet again Feb. 4 at Scotiabank Place ... Announced attendance was 19,615.

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