Senators-Maple Leafs Preview
GAME: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinals; tied 2-2.
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EDT.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ed Belfour dominated the Ottawa Senators during
four regular-season matchups.
Belfour continued that mastery of the Senators early on in the teams'
first-round playoff series, but after his performance in Game 4, it seems
Ottawa has finally solved the Toronto netminder.
The fifth-seeded Senators and fourth-seeded Leafs meet in a pivotal Game 5
when they face off at Air Canada Centre.
Belfour went 3-0-1 with a 0.98 goals-against average and a shutout against
Ottawa in the regular season series - won 4-1-1 by Toronto - but he lost 4-2 in
Game 1 as the Senators stole the home-ice advantage away from the Leafs.
Belfour rebounded with two straight shutouts as Toronto took back home ice
with 2-0 wins in Games 2 and 3. On Wednesday, however, the Senators peppered
Belfour with 36 shots and finally got the puck past him as they tied the series
at 2-all with a 4-1 win in Ottawa.
Daniel Alfredsson scored late in the first period to end Belfour's shutout
streak at 157 minutes, 45 seconds, and Marian Hossa got the go-ahead goal in
the second period to lead the Senators.
Ottawa held a 36-24 margin in shots, reaching the 30 mark for the fourth
straight game. The Senators have outshot Toronto in each game of the series.
"There was no way he was going to shut us out for three straight games,"
Hossa, who had six shots in the first period, thrust his arms skyward after
he scored his third goal of the series to give the Senators the lead at 13:15
of the second.
"That definitely was a big relief," said Hossa, who had a team-high 10
shots in Ottawa's Game 3 loss Monday. "I knew that if I just kept shooting,
eventually one has to go in, and that one did."
Gary Roberts scored on a power play 16:53 into the first period Wednesday to
give Toronto a 1-0 lead, but the Leafs struggled the rest of the way.
"They're a great team for a reason," Roberts said. "They've had a great
season. We know they're a good hockey club and we need to be smarter to play
against them. They've got a lot of skilled guys. You give them those good
opportunities and eventually they're going to score."
Already without injured center Joe Nieuwendyk, Toronto lost captain Mats
Sundin early in the third period. Sundin slid into the boards after being
tripped by Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden while on a partial breakaway. No
penalty was called.
"I hope he's OK and he'll be able to go for us next game," Leafs
defenseman Brian Leetch said of Sundin, who has a team-high four points in the
series. "(Joe's) got a sore back and we were watching him get rehab in here
the last couple of days, so we knew that he was questionable going into the
Nieuwendyk scored his second goal of the series in Toronto's 2-0 win on
Game 6 will be played in Ottawa on Sunday night, and if necessary, Game 7
will be Tuesday in Toronto.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Senators - 102 points, 5th seed; Maple Leafs - 103
points, 4th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Hossa, 3 goals; Martin Havlat, 3 assists;
Hossa, Havlat and Alfredsson, 3 points; Chris Neil, 11 PIM. Maple Leafs -
Roberts, 3 goals; Sundin, 3 assists and 4 points; Nik Antropov, 12 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Senators - Power play: 12.5 percent (3 for 24).
Penalty killing: 85.7 percent (18 for 21). Maple Leafs - Power play: 14.3
percent (3 for 21). Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (21 for 24).
GOALTENDERS: Senators - Patrick Lalime (2-2, 1.76 GAA); Martin Prusek (no
appearances). Maple Leafs - Belfour (2-2, 2 SO, 2.00); Trevor Kidd (no