Sens: Love it or Leaf it

Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil (right) avoids a puck along side Toronto Maple Leafs' Brendan Bell in...

Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil (right) avoids a puck along side Toronto Maple Leafs' Brendan Bell in preseason action at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Martin Gerber's sneak peek at the Battle of Ontario last night was perfect ... for him. That wasn't the case for the rest of the Senators.

Making his Senators debut against the arch-rival Toronto Maple Leafs, the goalie stopped all 13 shots he faced before rookie Jeff Glass took over. The Leafs skated to a 3-1 victory at Scotiabank Place.

"I thought Gerber was pretty good. They didn't get much in the way of shots, but he stopped the chances that they did get," said Senators coach Bryan Murray.

Toronto's Andy Wozniewski, Brad Brown and Bates Battaglia all beat Glass to ruin Ottawa's pre-season home opener in front of 17,195 fans. Mike Fisher scored for the Senators.

The Senators were forced to finish the game without captain Daniel Alfredsson, who left the game after two periods for precautionary reasons with a groin injury.

"It started to tighten up on me in the second period. I didn't pull anything, so that's good. I should be fine in a day or two," said Alfredsson, who won't play tomorrow against the Buffalo Sabres.

Signed to a three-year, $11.1-million contract, Gerber looked a lot better than he did in allowing four goals during a Red and White scrimmage on Sunday.

BIG STOPS

Before surrendering the net to Glass, Gerber, who had only heard and read about the rivalry with Toronto, came up with some big stops.

Gerber's best stop might have been during a scramble with Nik Antropov lurking early in the second. The goalie also made a pad stop on John Pohl just before leaving the game.

"I felt pretty good," said Gerber. "In the preseason you just want to get that first game in and feel good about it. This was a good first game for me."

In fact, the Senators held a 1-0 lead on Fisher's goal until 12:05 of the second when Jeff O'Neill set up Battaglia. The goal by Brown was tipped, while Wozniewski put it past Glass from the point.

FISHER LOOKS GOOD

Though all eyes were on rookie centre Alexei Kaigorodov, trying to establish himself as the No. 2 centre behind Jason Spezza, it was Fisher who was sharp. The line of Fisher, Antoine Vermette and Chris Neil was buzzing.

"That line was good for us," said Murray. "But I just don't think we played as well as we could."

Kaigorodov played alongside Alfredsson and Peter Schaefer.

"(Kaigorodov) looked like it was his first NHL game, but he'll adjust," said Murray.

The Senators host Buffalo tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.


Videos

Photos