Gonchar checks in for Sens

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

TORONTO -- There's the Sergei Gonchar the Senators knew they were getting when they went free-agent shopping last summer.

It only took him a dozen games to show he might very well turn out to be a good buy after all.

Gonchar got it going and brought the Senators power play with him Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre, scoring a goal and assisting on another by Erik Karlsson with the visitors enjoying man-advantage situations in the second period.

The blasts from the point were the difference in a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs -- Ottawa's fourth victory in its last six outings.

"I wasn't paying attention to (the goal-less drought) that much," said Gonchar. "I knew I had to shoot the puck more, and if I did, I'd have those chances."

The Senators took the lead and never looked back when Mike Fisher scored on a penalty shot late in the first period. Fisher's low wrister to J.S. Giguere's glove side ignited the boobirds who didn't think Mike Komisarek did anything wrong on Fisher's failed breakaway.

"We're trying to build on anything we can right now and wins at this point of the season are huge," said Fisher.

With that momentum, they jumped on the Leafs early in the second and actually looked to get their second goal 6:11 in, when Nick Foligno set up Alex Kovalev with a wide-open net. Kovalev fanned trying to deposit the puck, then was hit into the net by Colton Orr and Christian Hanson. Orr and Kovalev wound up all the way in the cage, but neither the refs nor replay officials saw the puck in there with them.

"The nice thing is, after they didn't allow that goal, we didn't fold," said Senators coach Cory Clouston. "We kept our composure and didn't get rattled."

The Leafs lost captain Dion Phaneuf with a lower body injury during the play. Reports had him leaving the Air Canada Centre on a stretcher with ice on his leg.

"I didn't know what happened to him," said Peter Regin, who collided with Phaneuf. "I tried to just get the puck in front of the net. I didn't mean to hurt him if I did. Hopefully he will be fine."

The Senators sat back and protected the lead in the third period, but the Leafs threatened to make a game of it when Francois Beauchemin's point shot snuck by Chris Phillips and Nikolai Kulemin, and between Brian Elliott's legs with plenty of time on the clock. The goal ended the Leafs drought at 167 minutes and 49 seconds, ending any chance of them suffering a third straight shutout for the first time in their history.

The Senators' penalty killers, who did a great job surviving early second-period minors to Chris Phillips and Jarkko Ruutu, also made it through a Jason Spezza penalty unscathed late in the third. They finally gave one up with 51 seconds left, and Chris Kelly off for hooking, and had to dodge one more bullet when David Hale was sent off for shooting the puck over the glass with 31 seconds left.

They killed it off, thanks in part to a key faceoff win by Fisher in the defensive zone.

Daniel Alfredsson revealed that it was his back that was giving him trouble and put in question his ability to play the game.

He wound up working more than 20 minutes and contributing one assist while showing off his leadership abilities.

"I was worried, I had a tough time yesterday and this morning I didn't feel great either," said the captain. "But I had treatment pretty much the whole day, and once I got out on the ice ... it felt good in warmup and with the adrenaline of the game, there were no problems, really.

"I thought we just played a good road game. We started well in the first period, our goaltender played great, and special teams was good."

"We wanted to test our PK at the end and we got to do that," he added slyly.


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