Skip to main content

Senators pull off shootout victory

by Brian Hunter / NHL.com
Wins have not come easily of late for the two teams that met at Scotiabank Place on Thursday night. But after 65 minutes of hockey and a shootout, the Ottawa Senators can at least feel as though they might be turning a corner.

Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson scored in the penalty-shot tiebreaker and Alex Auld followed up a 25-save effort by stopping both attempts by the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Senators prevailed 2-1, their second win in a row following a six-game losing streak.

"We need every point we can get," said Alfredsson, whose goal in the third round clinched the victory. Like Spezza, the captain elected to shoot on Vesa Toskala without bothering to try to deke the Leafs goalie. "Usually, I kind of take it as it goes, but today I just made up my mind to kind of pull it in and then go high glove."

Mike Fisher of the Senators and Nikolai Kulemin of the Leafs scored 59 seconds apart early in the first period, the only goals scored during regulation and overtime. Kulemin and the recently-acquired Lee Stempniak couldn't convert in the shootout for Toronto, which dropped its fifth straight despite 34 saves from Toskala.

"He was awesome for us," rookie defenseman Luke Schenn said. "He definitely gave us a chance to win."

Ottawa was coming off a four-day break following a big 4-1 win over the New York Rangers last Saturday. Fisher, who had missed their previous two games with a knee injury, returned to the lineup and was responsible for getting the Senators off to another strong start.

Fisher got credit for his third goal of the season at the 3:54 mark when he tried to center a pass to linemate Shean Donovan and the puck instead deflected off the skate of Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle and past Toskala.

Kulemin quickly tied the score when he tapped in Mikhail Grabovski's pass through the crease for his fourth goal, and the two goaltenders kept it deadlocked through overtime.

Toskala in particular seemed to get into the heads of the Senators, frustrating them with some key stops. After he stopped Dany Heatley midway through the second, the star forward angrily slammed his stick against the boards.

"It was a pretty good chance and I didn't really get all of it," Heatley said.

Toskala then got a piece of a Chris Kelly shot early in the third which struck the left post and stayed out of the net. Ottawa outshot Toronto 5-0 in the extra period but Toskala continued to shine, making a couple big saves on Fisher, to get the Leafs to the shootout.

"Maybe I had a little bit more luck on my side tonight," Toskala said.

Spezza gave the opposing goalie credit, but noted Auld's solid play in helping the Senators gain the second point.

"Toskala stood on his head but Auldie's just been rock solid for us," Spezza said. "He hasn't allowed too many goals, his numbers are great, he's playing with a lot of confidence and he seems to be a guy who's really seeing the puck well and playing really well for us right now."

 
 
Material from wire services was used in this report.
View More