|Sens' Patrick Eaves (left) celebrates a first period goal against the Maple Leafs in Ottawa on Tuesday. (SUN MEDIA/Darren Calabrese)
The Senators picked a leaf collection day in Kanata to bag some Leafs of their own.
And with a 5-1 win at Scotiabank Place last night, the Senators set both a club record, with their eighth straight win (beating a seven-game streak in November of 2001), and a league record with 26 points after 14 games. The Buffalo Sabres and Detroit set the old record of 25 points in 14 games in 2005-06.
The Senators turned this season's Round 3 of the Battle of Ontario into a massacre on the strength of two-point nights by Patrick Eaves, Chris Kelly, Andrej Meszaros and Antoine Vermette, along with goals from Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Phillips, to improve to 13-1.
Goaltender Martin Gerber wasn't perfect, but he was close, making 30 saves and allowing only Nik Antropov's power-play goal as the Senators were outshot 31-21.
"The challenge is to keep it going. I am not worried about streaks," said Alfredsson. "Every night we have to give ourselves a chance to win. We're ready and we're motivated, we just want to keep it going."
Last season, it took Gerber until his 21st start on Feb. 17 to record his 10th victory. Last night, he improved to 10-1.
While the Senators took advantage of some major Leaf gaffes, Gerber made some big stops when necessary.
He made a huge breakaway save off Jiri Tlusty early in the second period with the club holding a 3-0 lead and made a pad stop on Matt Stajan without even seeing the puck.
"You look around the room and everybody is enjoying it," said Gerber. "This doesn't come easy. We've put a lot of work into it and each day everybody is pushing as hard as they can and that's why we are where we are right now."
Senators centre Mike Fisher said Gerber is playing with confidence.
"He's making the right saves at the right time to give us a chance to win," said Fisher. "He's never flustered. He's always in the right position. As a team, we're pretty confident with him in the net right now and he's given us some of the best goaltending I've seen to start a season."
Really, the Battle of Ontario has been no contest lately because of Ottawa's dominance against its provincial rival.
With the victory, the Senators are 15-2-2 in their last 19 games against the Leafs.
"It was a pretty complete game by us," said Senators coach John Paddock. "Anytime, with this rivalry and intensity and the Leafs' fans in the building, when you score the first goal, you more often win than lose."
The Leafs were in trouble early and didn't do a lot to get themselves out of it. Once Meszaros gave the Senators a 4-0 lead at 8:08 of the second on the power play, Toronto coach Paul Maurice decided he'd seen enough and pulled starter Vesa Toskala, who surrendered four goals on only 13 shots. Andrew Raycroft allowed one goal the rest of the way.
The Senators exposed the problems the Leafs are having defensively. Alfredsson moved into a tie with Dallas' Niklas Hagman for the league-lead in short-handed goals with three when he took a pass from Dean McAmmond and fired it past Toskala.