TORONTO -- The Battle of Ontario was about redemption for the Senators last night.
Point made. Two points taken.
The Senators continued their climb back to respectability by hitting the .500 mark (4-4-0) with a 6-2 victory over the Maple Leafs last night at the Air Canada Centre.
After getting spanked 6-0 by the Leafs in their home opener Oct. 5 at Scotiabank Place, the Senators served notice they won't be taken lightly as the bad blood builds up with the two-game series continuing tomorrow in Ottawa.
While Senators goalie Martin Gerber recorded his second victory over the Leafs, it was Mike Fisher, Antoine Vermette, Andrej Meszaros, Chris Neil and Patrick Eaves who led the charge with two-point nights. Dany Heatley also scored for the Senators, who have 14 goals in their last two games.
Coming off an 8-1 victory over the Devils on Saturday at home, the Senators wanted to prove they are headed in the right direction and it looks that way as they beat the Leafs in every aspect of the game.
But this game turned nasty once it was out of control. Senators GM John Muckler was incensed after Leafs winger Darcy Tucker dropped his gloves and grabbed Eaves from behind to give him a pounding midway through the second. Chad Kilger also speared Schubert in the second and only received a minor for roughing.
"That was a cowardly act," Muckler said of Tucker's tactics. "It was made out of total frustration because he was trying to get his team going. That's bull(crap). You can't have that kind of thing happening. It doesn't matter what the score is. I can't believe he did that."
There was bad news for the Senators. The club lost defenceman Anton Volchenkov with a sprained left shoulder. He left the game in the second which meant Schubert moved back to play on the blue line.
Fisher set the tone, opening the scoring at 2:42 of the first on Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft. Before the Leafs could figure out what was happening, Meszaros and Eaves had staked the Senators a 3-0 lead.
The much-maligned power play, which has had its share of issues, is also back on the right track by moving the puck and getting shots through. Following a 1-for-3 performance against the Devils, Eaves and Vermette both scored with the man advantage.
It was all Ottawa from the outset. They jumped on the Leafs early, won the battles for loose pucks, finished their checks and barely gave Toronto any chances.
It was players frustrated on the scoreboard lately who chipped in Ottawa. Fisher, Eaves, Vermette, Heatley and Meszaros did the scoring as Ottawa pulled out to a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Raycroft was pulled after 40 minutes after giving up five goals on 21 shots and replaced by J.S. Aubin. That's because the Senators were all over them.
Heatley must love games against the Leafs. He has 16 goals in 17 career games against Toronto and 31 career points. Last night, Heatley scored on a setup from linemate Jason Spezza to give Ottawa a 5-0 lead at 7:21 of the second.
Only Matt Stajan and Mats Sundin were able to beat Gerber. He didn't look good on Sundin's effort early in the third. The Leafs had a goal called back in the third when it was ruled Stajan had kicked the puck by Gerber.