Sens sock it to Leafs

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson gets bumped by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nik Antropov...

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson gets bumped by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nik Antropov during first period action at Scotiabank Place on Thursday. (Sun Media/Blair Gable)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Okay, so at about 9:30 last night, you were all thinking the same thing, weren't you?

'Fess up.

You wondered how the Senators would find a way to blow it, huh?

Not last night. Not against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The second goal of the game by Ottawa's Dean McAmmond made it 5-1 early in the third and the Senators closed the deal after blowing third-period leads in their previous three games.

McAmmond, who had scored short-handed earlier in the game, took a pass from Jason Spezza, back after missing a game with back spasms, and beat Toronto goalie Andrew Raycroft with his own rebound.

Spezza had a couple of assists.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson played a dominating game -- one of his best of the season -- with three assists, two on power-play goals by Mike Fisher and one on McAmmond's shorty.

TIED FOR EIGHTH

The loss kept the Leafs from tightening a grip on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and makes tomorrow night's rematch in The Big Smoke even more important for the Buds, who remained tied with the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers.

"(Last night), we were complete," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "We had a great start. We were very, very aggressive in the first.

"We had a little letdown in the second, but part of that was the way Toronto played. Then we picked it up in the third. Our skating was a big difference."

There were some encouraging signs for the Senators heading into tomorrow's game, beyond the fact they built on a third-period lead rather than lost it.

The Senators' power play, which had fizzled with a chance to put the Pittsburgh Penguins away Tuesday night, clicked on its first two chances.

The penalty killing, meanwhile, handled a double-minor to Spezza for high-sticking that bridged the first intermission and McAmmond scored his short-handed goal shortly after to make it 3-0.

Murray shuffled his lines for the game, elevating newcomer Oleg Saprykin to the top line with Spezza and Dany Heatley.

The often-seen combo of Fisher with Peter Schaefer and Chris Neil was intact with Alfredsson on the right side of centre Chris Kelly and winger Antoine Vermette.

The loser in the shuffle was Mike Comrie, who tumbled to the fourth line with Christoph Schubert and McAmmond to start the game.

After scoring goals in three-straight games (Feb. 10-17), Comrie had just one assist in his last eight games going into last night and was minus-7 in those games.

Near the end of the second, Murray flipped Saprykin and Comrie and in the third, as is his custom when his team has the lead, Murray put McAmmond with Spezza and Heatley.

Fourteen Senators had at least one shot in the first period with defenceman Wade Redden and Fisher leading the way with three apiece. Alex Steen scored the lone Maple Leafs goal.

There wouldn't be a third-period disaster on this night.

Now it's back to Toronto.


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