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Senators Hold Leafs Down

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
January 21, 2006

OTTAWA (CP) -- The only thing the Toronto Maple Leafs were thankful for Saturday night is there are still 35 games left in the regular season.

They hope that's enough time to right their ship.

The Leafs (24-20-3) lost their fifth straight game as the Ottawa Senators hammered their provincial rivals 7-0 at Scotiabank Place. It's the Maple Leafs' longest losing streak since they dropped seven straight in January 1997.

The Sens had pressure on the Eagle early and often.
(A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC)

The Senators (32-10-4) are 5-0 this season against the Leafs and have outscored them 32-9 so far.

The two teams meet again Monday at Scotiabank Place where Leafs coach Pat Quinn obviously wants his team to put forth a better effort.

"They beat us in all areas,'' he said. "We have to keep talking about the things we need to do because obviously we're not doing them.''

The Senators, on the other hand, could do no wrong. Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher both scored twice to lead Ottawa, while Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Peter Schaefer added single goals.

"I don't know the answer to why we beat Toronto so easily,'' said goaltender Dominik Hasek, who made 23 saves and picked up his 67th career shutout. "It's probably because we are always ready for this team. It's a rivalry and we are always ready.''

It was a much tougher night for Toronto's Ed Belfour, who allowed seven goals on 41 shots.

"I've been through tough times before,'' he said. "It's going to happen in everyone's career. It's a long season and we have to stick together.''

Before a record crowd of 20,093, Ottawa took control early when Alfredsson scored 39 seconds in. Heatley and Schaefer then scored before the first intermission.

Spezza scored on a wraparound in the opening minutes of the second and Alfredsson made it 5-0 on a short-handed breakaway at 8:17. By the time Fisher made it 7-0 on a breakaway of his own, it was clear the rout was on.

"Right now I think we're playing a team that's struggling and lacking confidence big time and missing some guys,'' Alfredsson said. "With the start we got it kind of made them feel like it was going to be a long night and we made sure we didn't let up on anything. We did a great job all night.''

The Leafs made few excuses for their poor performance.

"We just have to be better,'' said Toronto's Ken Klee. "We were bad in every area of the game. It's unacceptable.''

The Leafs weren't able to beat Hasek Saturday.
(A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC)

"(Ottawa) did all the things that winners do and we're not doing those things,'' added Quinn. "They're a heck of a team. They showed, in my opinion, why they've been and still are a good team.''

The loss dropped the Leafs to ninth in the Eastern Conference and will continue to fuel speculation that Quinn's days as coach of the Maple Leafs could be numbered. But captain Mats Sundin came to Quinn's defence, saying the coach can't be held responsible for what happens on the ice.

"It's not his fault,'' said Sundin. "We can turn this thing around, there's no doubt about it. I believe in this team. We're facing adversity, but every team does that.''

Notes: The Senators were RW Brandon Bochenski (shoulder, day-to-day), RW Martin Havlat (shoulder, out for season) and D Christoph Schubert was a healthy scratch. It was the 1000th game for the Ottawa franchise...Toronto was without D Bryan McCabe (groin, indefinite), C Eric Lindros (wrist, indefinite), LW Darcy Tucker (ribs, indefinite), RW Mariusz Czerkawski was a healthy scratch.

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