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Sens Shake Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
September 27, 2006

TORONTO (CP) -- Ray Emery slipped to backup status when the Ottawa Senators spent big bucks to hire goaltender Martin Gerber during the summer, but Emery isn't going to the end of the bench to sulk.

Emery held the Toronto Maple Leafs scoreless in the third period as they pressed for a tying goal, and the Senators emerged with a 5-3 pre-season victory Wednesday night.

"I'm working towards playing as much as I can and pushing Marty,'' said Emery. "That's my focus.''

He was Ottawa's No. 1 goalie down the stretch and through the playoffs last spring, but Gerber will get most of the starts now.

"It's a different mindset for me, and I realize Marty is going to play really well, so I have to pick my game up,'' said Emery. "I'm glad I got the opportunity last year, and I hope to use that experience it to my advantage this year.''

Toronto had a 39-31 shots edge, and Emery was up to the challenge.

Chris Neil, Peter Schaefer, Mike Fisher, Daniel Alfredsson and Dean McAmmond scored for Ottawa (4-3-0).

Fisher was quick to praise Emery's effort.

"He's been excellent this camp, and it's carried on from what he did last year,'' said Fisher. "He's in good shape, he's moving well.

"Gerber's been really good, too, and he's going to be our No. 1, but Ray's been really good, too.''

Alexander Suglobov, Bryan McCabe and Matt Stajan scored for the Leafs (3-3-0).

Ottawa was 3-for-9 and Toronto was 2-for-5 on power plays.

"Penalties killed us, obviously,'' said McCabe. "It's a huge thing in this league now.

"You can't be killing off seven to 10 penalties a night. It's going to kill you every time. We played hard, but when you're killing that many penalties it's going to bite you in the (butt).''

The Northeast Division rivals open the regular season in Air Canada Centre next Wednesday so this was a chance to get in some last pre-season licks.

Brad Brown made statment with his fists early in the first. photo: Dave Abel

Brad Brown, hoping his willingness to drop the gloves will enhance his longshot bid for a defence job, fought Brian McGrattan in the ninth minute. The 30-year-old Newfoundland native threw a punch that opened a cut over McGrattan's left eye and wound up with a cut on the bridge of his nose.

Brown, who played for the AHL's Toronto Marlies last season, amassed 747 penalty minutes in 330 big-league games with Montreal, Chicago, the Rangers, Minnesota and Buffalo.

Neil beat Mikael Tellqvist on a wraparound at 16:54 for the only goal of the first period.

The puck bounced in off a lunging Tellqvist at 5:36 of the second period after Schaefer shot from behind the net, and Fisher fired in a rebound at 7:26 for a 3-0 Ottawa lead.

Suglobov countered at 9:32 with a smart move. He scored his team-high third pre-season goal, and he might make the team if he survives criticisms of his defensive play.

The 24-year-old Russian got the puck in the circle to the left of Ray Emery, pulled it towards his feet and waited for an Ottawa player to approach so he could use him as a screen. The six-foot right-winger, acquired from New Jersey for Ken Klee late last season, took a quick wrist shot to lift the puck over the kneeling goalie's left shoulder.

"I tried to show my best game and tried to help the team win but the final (roster) decision is up to the coaches,'' said Suglobov.

McCabe beat Emery with a waist-high wrist shot to the stick side at 10:15, Alfredsson darted in front of Andy Wozniewski to convert a give-and-go with Fisher for Ottawa's third power-play goal at 14:04, and Stajan deflected a long Wozniewski shot at 18:51.

McAmmond got the only goal of the third period, at 15:27, on a breakaway. He pulled the puck to his backhand and neatly lifting it over Tellqvist's outstretched left leg.

"I made a few good saves and felt pretty good,'' said Tellqvist. "Too bad I let in five goals.''

Training camps are shorter this year, but Senators coach Bryan Murray has already had enough.

"They're tired of playing pre-season,'' he said of his players. "There's no question, you could see it in some of the veteran guys.

"(The effort) wasn't what you'd want in a regular-season game. It's time to get (the pre-season) over with, I think.''

Notes: Regulars not in Toronto's lineup were G Andrew Raycroft, D Tomas Kaberle, C Mike Peca, C Kyle Wellwood and LW Darcy Tucker. ... Ottawa didn't dress D Wade Redden, D Anton Volchenkov, RW Dany Heatley and C Antoine Vermette. ... Ian White, hoping to land one of the Leafs' defence jobs, had a mistake-laden outing. ... Alexei Kaigorodov's stock continues to fall. He did nothing to impress. The Senators had hopes when the young Russian centre arrived in camp that he'd win the centre's role on the second line. It looks now as if Fisher will get the spot. ... Earlier in the day, the Leafs assigned F Brad Leeb, F Erik Westrum and G J.F. Racine to the AHL Marlies. ... The Leafs complete the pre-season in Detroit on Saturday and at home Sunday against the Red Wings. ... The Senators are at home against the Canadiens and finish up Saturday at Montreal.

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