Leafs a bust in Battle of Ontario

Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil gets a hold Of Toronto Maple Leafs' Luke Schenn. (Craig Robertson/QMI...

Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil gets a hold Of Toronto Maple Leafs' Luke Schenn. (Craig Robertson/QMI AGENCY)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 PM ET

TORONTO - The Battle of Ontario used to be something, right?

Mats Sundin vs. Daniel Alfredsson. Bryan McCabe vs. Zdeno Chara. Darcy Tucker vs. the Ottawa Senators' bench.

The intrigue in the rivalry between the Maple Leafs and Senators long gone, the clubs met at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday to remind fans how far they've fallen.

On Canadian Forces Night, an honouring of the men and women who serve this country and fight real battles, the Leafs lost 1-0 in a shootout to the Senators, unable to beat goalie Craig Anderson on 47 shots in regulation and overtime and none in the breakaway contest.

Jason Spezza got the only goal of the shootout, beating James Reimer over his glove. Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin could not beat Anderson in the shootout.

Anderson, making his Senators' debut after he was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, made a stunning pad save on Phil Kessel in overtime, keeping the Leaf from scoring into an otherwise open net.

The Sens had lost 13 of their previous 14 games. Toronto had won six of nine.

Reimer made 22 saves, and his toughest might have been a pad stop on a shot that was re-directed by Milan Michalek during the second period.

The joke was on the 16 National Hockey League scouts, representing 14 teams (the Pittsburgh Penguins and Phoenix Coyotes had two each), on the accreditation list. They were assigned, we think, to report back on what might be left to pick from the carcasses of these two bad teams.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his colleague, Sens GM Bryan Murray, have said they are not done trading. Not so fast. If their teams keep playing like they did Saturday night, who would want any of these guys?

For the second time this season — the other being a 2-1 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Jan. 15 — a Leafs game was deadlocked 0-0 after two periods.

Toronto held a 30-15 lead in shots on goal after 40 minutes, but Anderson did not have to be overly spectacular. Most of the Leafs' shots were from the outside, and the power play, no less than 2-for-20 in the previous five games, had as many scoring chances as a nerd at a Playboy convention. The Leafs didn't score on five chances in the game.

There were little bits of nastiness. Dion Phaneuf threw a thundering open-ice hit that sent Nick Foligno flying, and Chris Neil filled in Darryl Boyce. Old foes Jay Rosehill and Francis Lessard engaged in a staged scrap during the second period, but it was one of the more impressive ones as these things go. The two traded a flurry of punches, changing hands in mid-fight, after Lessard opened with a solid left.

The rink once was thick with intensity, even during the regular season, when the Sens and Leafs would meet back in the day. Not anymore, which is not a big surprise considering the Leafs and Sens were 11th and 15th in the Eastern Conference, respectively, before the game began.

Schenn assumed the alternate captaincy that became available when Tomas Kaberle was traded to the Boston Bruins on Friday. Kaberle had the 'A' taken away prior to the season, but got it back when Francois Beauchemin was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks. Colby Armstrong, some think, will get the 'A' once he returns to the lineup after his blurred vision problem has gone away.

The game marked the first time since April 19, 1998 that Kaberle was not part of the Leafs' roster, whether he was injured or not. Kaberle never did play a game in the minors after he made his Leafs debut on Oct. 10, 1998 versus the Detroit Red Wings, but he played two games for St. John's in 1997-98.

Joe Colborne, acquired from the Bruins in the swap for Kaberle, scored in his Toronto Marlies debut on Saturday afternoon, a 4-3 win in a shootout against the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins. Colborne also scored in the shootout.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca

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