Leafs' mission? To knock off Sens

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

They have had well-documented and remembered playoff troubles solving Toronto goalies Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour.

Last night, the Senators were beaten by a Mikael Tellqvist.

A meaningless pre-season game? Of course. Most of the big shooters from both teams were nowhere to be found, and we're not talking about a disappearing act like Senators scorers have perfected during post-seasons past. Still, the Leafs say they had a mission. And they completed it.

"We talked about it before ... the guys certainly wanted to win this game," said Tellqvist, who made 33 saves in Toronto's 3-1 victory over the Senators. "We've been having a tough time in this building lately. We wanted to set the tone."

The trick is carrying it into the games that actually count.

THIS AND THAT: No Tie Domi, no Pat Quinn, and (last night, anyway) no Darcy Tucker. Hating the Leafs just ain't what it used to be for Ottawa fans, especially with former 67's stars Mike Peca and Brendan Bell in Toronto's lineup ... Martin Gerber's best two first period saves -- off Peca and somebody named Andy Wozniewski -- were of the off-balance variety a quitter who used to play goal for the Senators was known to make ... Ah yes, what would a Senators-Leafs game be without a Brian Maloney-Ben Ondrus fight, eh? Sorta reminded us of a Brian McGrattan-Domi scrap, minus the punches .... Minor or not, news that Daniel Alfredsson left last night's game with a groin injury will not go well with breakfast for Senators fans this morning. Especially given their latest experiences reading about groin injuries ... Shortly after converting a quick Antoine Vermette pass from behind the net, Mike Fisher had a chance to score his second goal, again on a pass from Vermette, off a short-handed 2-on-1 break. Alas, it was snatched away on a spectacular glove save by Mikael Tellqvist ... In his first game as a Senator, Tom Preissing was also robbed by Tellqvist. His chance came on a power play with about eight minutes left, and after he had pinched in from the point to accept a setup by Chris Neil.

CONNECTING DOTS: In what will go down as the first shift we remember Alexei Kaigorodov taking as a Senator, the Russian rookie lost his stick once, lost the puck twice, then skated to the bench. At least his career had nowhere to go but up, right. "It looked like his first NHL game," Bryan Murray said in defence of Kaigorodov, who played 15:32, was a minus-1, had no shots on goal and was 6-11 in the faceoff circles ... Even the "Go Leafs Go" chants lacked enthusiasm and failed to generate the rebuttal they usually do in a real game at Scotiabank Place .... A year after threatening to become a Senators scoring sensation, Brandon Bochenski was padding his reputation as Mr. September this week, scoring a game winner for the Chicago Blackhawks after earlier in the night breaking his nose ... Liked the Yogi-ism from 15-year Senators broadcaster Gord Wilson Tuesday in Halifax. "It's still early and there's a lot of time left," he surmised during a second period moment .... The Senators shutout was broken against (Jeff) Glass, who moments later bailed out Tomas Malec after the teenage defenceman was guilty of a horrendous turnover ... Ottawa's Grant Potulny went with Kris Newbury in the game's only other fight. Punches were tossed, but both players were mostly off-balance and neither really seemed to connect.

FROM THE DOT: In one night, Stuntman Stu established himself as the best public address announcer in Senators history. That's saying less about him than the rest of them ... Bell was given a delayed assist on Toronto's second goal, news that was greeted by a cheer that suggested many of his friends and family were in attendance ... Bell was named the game's third star .... Neil and Brad Brown were either starting up a feud that could be worth waiting for or exchanging stories about their days in North Bay as Centennials .... Taking another run at an NHL career is Bates Battaglia, owner of one of the all-time great hockey names. A former winger for Paul Maurice in Carolina, Bates was in the East Coast League two seasons ago and with the AHL's Toronto Marlies in 2005-06. Last night, he was one of the Leafs best players. "We could have used a few more of those five years ago," Maurice joked later of last night's goal, which was set up by former Hurricane Jeff O'Neill.


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