Buds duds vs. Sens' top line

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

Those who just can't wait for the Harlem Globetrotters' April 5 visit to Scotiabank Place may discover something of a sneak preview on ice out there tonight.

At least, the Senators sure have resembled the world famous score-at-will travelling basketball team when playing the Toronto Maple Leafs -- their very own Washington Generals -- so far this season.

Particularly dominating and dazzling has been the line of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, which was only missing the Sweet Georgia Brown theme song while combining for nine points in Saturday's 7-0 victory over the Duds, er, Buds.

The win improved the Senators' 2005-06 record to 5-0 over their provincial rivals, whom they have now outscored by a 30-9 count, not counting shootout goals. Of the 30, 18 have come from Alfredsson (seven), Heatley (seven) and Spezza (four).

Heatley (twice) and Alfredsson have also scored on Leafs goalie Eddie Belfour in shootouts, each winning a game for Ottawa.

"I think we've done pretty good against most teams," Spezza, whose club hosts Toronto at The Bank again this evening, said of his reunited line yesterday.

"We've just done extra good against the Leafs (because) as a team we've been able to blow them out a little."

A little is being nice. Belfour now has a wind rash to go along with the burn he gets on the back of his neck in games against Ottawa.

The Leafs' top goalie would be having a pretty decent season had it not been for a handful of meetings with the Senators, too. Playing them, he had a career 10-6-2 mark and 1.84 GAA prior to October, but one that's ballooned over five since.

Against the rest of the league in 2005-06, he is 18-11-2 with a GAA under three. Belfour's overall GAA of 3.35 is particularly noteworthy in that he hasn't finished a season with the mark over three since he was a rookie 17 years ago.

Spezza, meanwhile, says he feels no lingering effects from the torn chest muscle that caused him to miss 12 games before his return Thursday against the Ducks.

The Senators were 8-4 minus Spezza, which might not sound like anything until you consider the fact they've only lost 10 games all season.

"My timing was off the first night but my legs were fine," said Spezza, who admitted the tests the injury were given vs. Anaheim had him not even thinking about it Saturday.

Coach Bryan Murray kept the Spezza, Alfredsson and Heatley line apart until the third period in the loss to the Ducks. He won't be making that mistake again any time soon.

"I'm going to leave them alone for now," said Murray, who a day earlier had admitted he blew it tinkering with what had been successful third and fourth units.

"In the game against Anaheim, I was really angry with myself for making the (line) changes we did."

Heatley, meanwhile, says there's no real secret as to how he's managed to beat Belfour a grand total of nine times in five games or why the Senators now appear to have Toronto's number.

"I don't know, we've just played well against them, the whole team has," he said. "The rivalry is there and we just get excited about facing them.'

Alfredsson said that "it's not fun playing when you win 7-0, but we'll take it."

He also sounded convincing enough when he predicted a tougher battle against the Leafs tonight.

"We've got to have that mindset," explained the captain. "We have to keep bringing the same energy. If we do, we should be successful.

"We're looking for more consistency than we've had the last few weeks. (Tonight), we want to take another step in that direction."

And another in burying the ghosts of Leafs teams that have spooked them in the past.


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