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Canadian Press
10/26/2006 10:33:21 PM

OTTAWA (CP) - Whatever ailed the Ottawa Senators to start the season is now officially cured.

Dany Heatley had the hat trick Thursday night while Jason Spezza and Joe Corvo each had a career-high five points as the Senators routed the rival Toronto Maple Leafs for a second consecutive game, this time 7-2.

Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher also scored for the Senators (5-4-0), who have exploded for 21 goals in the last three games after scoring only 11 in the first six games. The Sens also moved over .500 for the first time since an opening-night victory at Toronto.

Bates Battaglia and Jeff O'Neill replied for the Maple Leafs (4-4-3), who have apparently forgotten how to play defence. The Leafs have given up 33 goals in their last seven games.

The Battle of Ontario continues to be one-sided since the NHL returned from the lockout. Ottawa is 10-2-0 against the Maple Leafs since last October, including 3-1-0 already this season.

Ray Emery stopped 29 shots to improve to 3-1-0 this season while his counterpart Andrew Raycroft had a busier night and faced 40 shots.

A crowd of 19,178 at Scotiabank Place, nearly half of them wearing Maple Leaf jerseys, may have anticipated a chippy affair after all the hype surrounding the beating Toronto's Darcy Tucker handed Ottawa's Patrick Eaves in Tuesday's 6-2 win by the Senators at Air Canada Centre.

While there were big hits, including a brain-rattler from Anton Volchenkov on Tucker in the second period, the bloodbath never materialized.

Rugged Senators winger Chris Neil did look for a fight at the opening faceoff as he lined up opposite Tucker and chirped in his ear, but the Leafs winger didn't accept the invitation.

Ben Ondrus's first and only shift of the first period for Toronto wasn't a memorable one, the young winger's giveaway at his own blue-line leading to Ottawa's opening goal by Fisher at 14:07. The Leafs' fourth line was hemmed into their zone for more than a minute before Fischer tapped it in.

A wild second period featuring seven goals saw Ottawa jump out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Vermette and Heatley 17 seconds apart just over three minutes in, Heatley's goal a result of a Wade Belak giveaway at the Toronto blue-line.

Battaglia, on a breakaway at 3:46, and O'Neill, on a rebound from in-close at 11:50, had Leafs fans in the building excited as Toronto cut it to 3-2. But Corvo scored on a blast to the top corner at 13:21 and Heatley added a pair from the slot at 16:39 and 17:56 to put the game out of reach.


6,444 Posts
Hmm... Interesting.

I know that the Ottawa Senators are a better team, and have been for years, but the game that the Toronto Maple Leafs played out there was far from their best.

Should Ottawa have won? Sure. However, I don't think that it should have been the onslaught that the Leafs allowed it to be.
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