Fisher nets OT winner

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:53 PM ET


 Another of Daniel Alfredsson's guarantees has come true.

 The Ottawa Senators are returning to the Air Canada Centre for Game 7 tomorrow night, just as their captain boldly predicted three days ago.

 All that remains to be determined is whether the Sens can seal the deal and win this Eastern Conference quarter-final, as Alfredsson said they would.

 By defeating the Maple Leafs 2-1 last night in double-overtime in Ottawa, the Sens staved off elimination and will live to see another day.

 Mike Fisher was the hero, beating Leafs goalie Ed Belfour at 1:47 of the second overtime period to extend this Battle of Ontario to a one-game, winner-take-all Showdown in Hogtown.

 Alfredsson is on a bit of a roll, having predicted before Game 4 that the Sens would break Belfour's shutout streak.

 "It was a hard-fought game," Leafs forward Joe Nieuwendyk said as he scurried for the team bus. "We would have liked to end it now but this is no time to hang our heads.

 "It just shows the importance of winning that final regular-season game."

 Nieuwendyk was referring to the Leafs' 6-0 blowout of the Sens on April 3, a victory that allowed Toronto to finish one point ahead of Ottawa in the Eastern Division standings.

 The result was home-ice advantage for Toronto in the first round, an edge the Leafs now will attempt to exploit.

 "That's what you play 82 games for," defenceman Bryan McCabe said. "It's something you hope you don't have to use, but now that we're in this position we'll take it."

 The Leafs again played without captain Mats Sundin, who also is doubtful for tomorrow night, coach Pat Quinn said. Sundin has missed the past two games with an injury to his upper left leg.

 Before last night's game the Leafs were 4-0 in playoff overtime decisions against the Senators. But that is ancient history. Just ask Fisher.

 When the Sens' Antoine Vermette managed to squeeze past Aki Berg's attempted pin behind the Toronto net and hit Fisher with a perfect cross-crease feed, the Ottawa forward needed only tap the puck across the goal line to send the capacity crowd of 18,500 at the Corel Centre into a frenzy.

 With Berg out of position, defence partner Bryan Marchment helplessly found himself in no man's land.

 "There were two guys to cover and I had to go right to the guy who was on the post," Marchment said, referring to Vermette. "I tried to stop the puck with my skate but I couldn't."

 "It was an honest response by our defenceman (Berg) but their kid slipped off it," Quinn said.

 McCabe's power-play goal at 4:14 of the first period -- a shot that deflected off the skate of Sens defenceman Brian Pothier -- held up until 4:55 of the third when Sens man-mountain Zdeno Chara tied the game 1-1.

 Chara used all of his 6-foot-9 frame to fend off checkers while circling the net, then came out in front and snapped a quick shot past Belfour. The goal snapped Belfour's shutout streak at 116 minutes 55 seconds.

 The Leafs almost took the lead with 90 seconds remaining in regulation time when Ron Francis took a Gary Roberts feed only to clank one off the post.

 "It was that close," Francis said. "Now it's down to one game with everything on the line."

 TURNING POINT

 The key play in Game 6:

 - Aki Berg lost Antoine Vermette behind the Toronto goal. Vermette reversed his field and broke away from Berg to the side of the net, the Leafs went to help Berg and left Mike Fisher alone for the goal.


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