Eight's great for Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

TORONTO -- Senators 8 Maple Leafs 0

From shootouts to a blowout.

And throw in a knockout.

After needing shootouts to win their first two matchups with the Maple Leafs this season, the Senators rode a four-goal performance by winger Dany Heatley to a 8-0 pounding of the Buds last night at the Air Canada Centre.

It was a one-sided pasting of a depleted Leafs lineup, but it didn't come close to the knockout Senators rookie enforcer Brian McGrattan dropped on Leafs tough guy Tie Domi.

That could turn out to be a significant moment in the Battle of Ontario and the Senators-Leafs rivalry.

Domi has long symbolized the Leafs' physical and psychological mastery of the Senators.

"We've got a different look now," said McGrattan, who did not gloat after the game. "We are not going to be run or pushed around anymore. We've got myself, Neiler (Chris Neil) and the Big Z (Zdeno Chara) likes to toss 'em, too.

"I know my job and what I have to bring to this team."

So, there were Domi and McGrattan grappling two minutes into the second period. Domi had spurned McGrattan's advances in Ottawa, but now the old battler had no choice.

His team was down 4-0 on home ice and in need of a lift.

They wrestled and sparred until McGrattan dropped a bomb of a right hand, popping Domi's helmet off and sending him crashing to the ice right in front of the Leafs' bench.

An unsteady Domi had to go to the dressing room for repairs and returned later with gauze protruding from his nostril.

The Air Canada Centre was filled with a curious sound from the crowd of 19,480, a hushed murmur as though they had not believed what they had seen.

"Brian's a beauty," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "He's just so ready to be involved physically. Tie has been a character guy and a tough guy for a long time. The guys on our team get confidence from Brian. They know the issues of the past are going to be addressed now."

The fight came on the heels of McGrattan manhandling Leafs centre Eric Lindros on a previous shift, hitting him hard behind the Ottawa net and then sending him to the ice with a punch to the face.

It might, as Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry pointed out, represent a seismic shift in attitudes in the Battle of Ontario.

Heatley supplied the offensive punch with a spectacular quarter of goals, capping his record-tying performance with a dramatic goal in the third.

"I'm having a lot of fun with this team," said Heatley.

After jumping by Toronto defenceman Bryan McCabe, he put a huge deke on Toronto goaltender Mikael Tellqvist, who had subbed for Toronto starter Ed Belfour, pulled after five goals on 18 shots.

"They were on top of their game," Belfour said of the Sens.

"We weren't."

Heatley tied the franchise record for most goals in a game held by the man for whom he was traded, Marian Hossa.

"He was just flying tonight," said linemate Jason Spezza, who wound up with two assists.

"He had the one-timer going and he jumped on some loose pucks. I was just a spectator tonight."

Dominik Hasek stopped 27 shots for the shutout. He'll be back in net again tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Corel Centre.

CHRIS.STEVENSON@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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