Spezza avoids sticky situation

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Ron Wilson tried to stick it to the Senators last night in the latest round of the Battle of Ontario ... and failed.

With 2:16 left in the third period, the Leafs coach asked for a measurement on Senators centre Jason Spezza's stick, questioning the width of the blade.

While Spezza was found guilty of using an illegal stick, the Leafs were unable to score on the ensuing power play and the Senators pulled off their third straight victory with a slim 2-1 decision in front of only 18,898 fans (The last time the Senators didn't sell out a Toronto game was Dec. 5, 2005, when only 18,860 were on hand).

While Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley scored for the Senators, who close out their eight-game homestand tomorrow against the Lightning, the most relieved guy in the building was Spezza.

"The boys did a good job of killing that for me. You don't want to see them score when you get a penalty for a call like that," said Spezza, who had an assist on Heatley's goal. "Nobody here knows the rules. I don't know what the clarification is. We still never got an answer. (Refereee Dan O'Halloran) just told me it was too skinny. It's apparently too skinny. Real dangerous, I guess."

That was Wilson's claim, anyway.

"The guy was not only using a stick that was illegal, it was dangerous," said Wilson, who claimed he had noticed the stick "all year."

"I had an opportunity to call it, so I did. I wanted to give the guys a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the power play stunk."

Spezza was fortunate the Senators had the last laugh.

"I've seen it two or three times in my career at the most," said Alfredsson, who nearly put away the game on a 2-on-1 only five seconds into the Leafs' power play. "I was surprised. The rules are there. That's fine. That's within the rules."

Wilson certainly did a good job making himself the centre of attention. He opted not to start former Senators goalie Martin Gerber and decided to go with veteran Curtis Joseph instead. That backfired as well.

It took a while, but the Senators finally solved Joseph midway through the second period. Heatley gave the club a 2-1 lead with his 32nd goal of the season at 19:13 when he tipped a shot from Anton Volchenkov by Joseph on the stick side.

Earlier, Alfredsson tied it with his 21st of the season. Breaking in on the wing, he fired a shot that appeared to change speed and beat Joseph on the stick side at 15:14.

"I thought (Alfredsson) was our best player when we needed a spark," said Senators coach Cory Clouston. "He went out there and scored a great goal. In the first period, we had three or four point-blank chances and hit a couple of posts and missed a wide open net. We got into a bit of a funk, but (Alfredsson's) goal brought us back."

Goaltender Brian Elliott made 25 saves, surrending only a first-period goal to Leafs defenceman Ian White.

"We've found a way to win each game and every game has been a little bit different," Heatley said of the three-game streak. "(Last night) was a little tighter. (Elliott) played solid for us and we were able to get a couple of big goals."


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