Ottawa Citizen

A little relief for Senators

Second win in a row evens season record SENATORS 6, LEAFS 2

- BY ALLEN PANZERI

TORONTO • There’s nothing like a good old fashioned beating of the Toronto Maple Leafs to cleanse the system of any lingering symptoms of a slump.

There might be a few moments of lingering unease, like the first week or so back after a Mexican vacation, but the Ottawa Senators can pretty well be pronounced over their dis- tressing skid.

Their 6- 2 victory against the Maple Leafs last night lifted their record to .500 ( 4- 4- 0).

It was a definite sign that the Senators have finally started to listen to the preachings of head coach Bryan Murray and the boos of their hometown fans.

It wasn’t just the goals they scored, though, but also that they played a ( mostly) thorough game, sort of like what fans have come to expect of Senators teams over the past few NHL seasons.

Their only anxious moments came in the first five minutes of the third period, when Toron- to’s Mats Sundin bounced a soft floater off Martin Gerber’s glove to cut Ottawa’s lead to three goals, and then Matt Stajan appeared to score his second of the game from a scrum to cut the margin to two.

This was a high- blood pressure moment for Murray.

However, Stajan’s goal was disallowed because the puck had been kicked into the net. Two minutes later, Chris Neil gave Ottawa a four- goal lead with his second of the season and that was it.

Ottawa’s other scorers were Patrick Eaves and Antoine Vermette, who each scored a power- play goal, equalling the team’s power- play output in its first seven games, Mike Fisher and Andrej Meszaros, who got their first goals of the season, and Dany Heatley, who got his third.

Eaves ended up with a Gordie Howe hat trick — a goal, an assist and a fight — after Darcy Tucker goaded him into a scrap in the second period. It was Eaves’ first fight as a pro and his first since the 22year- old winger was about 16. He wasn’t looking to fight.

“ He dropped his gloves and came after me,” Eaves said. “ I just had to defend myself.”

The Senators chased the Leafs’ Andrew Raycroft with five goals on 20 shots in two periods. Jean- Sébastien Aubin mopped up, facing 10 shots.

The Maple Leafs directed 39 shots at Gerber.

 ?? DAVE SANDFORD, GETTY IMAGES ?? Leafs defenceman Brendan Bell, an Ottawa native and former 67’ s captain, battles for puck possession with the Senators’ Daniel Alfredsson ( 11) in the first period last night.
DAVE SANDFORD, GETTY IMAGES Leafs defenceman Brendan Bell, an Ottawa native and former 67’ s captain, battles for puck possession with the Senators’ Daniel Alfredsson ( 11) in the first period last night.

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