Bryan ain't cryin'

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:35 PM ET

 Bryan Smolinski's fingerprints are all over the Battle of Ontario, but last night it was his foot in the wrong place.

 The hard-working Senators forward, who had accidentally put Owen Nolan and Mats Sundin out of the series and helped Ottawa to a Game 1 victory with a fluke goal, was himself the victim of strange fate in Game 5.

  Hustling to get back and cover Chad Kilger on a Tie Domi rush, Smolinski hit the brakes and knocked Domi's rebound past Patrick Lalime.

 "It looked like a harmless 3-on-2, but when you get them on net, good things happen," Smolinski said with a grimace. "It's your job to nullify an odd-man rush, to come back hard. But one (weird) goal was the winner tonight. Patty made a great save, but I couldn't stop."

 'TAKE OUR LUMPS'

 It was Smolinski who Nolan had tried to hit in a game here last month that wrecked the Leafs winger's knee. It was Smolinski who banked a key goal past Ed Belfour off Bryan Marchment, Smolinski who knocked Sundin off-balance just enough to send him crashing into the boards.

 "You never know what will happen out there," he said. "But we'll take our lumps and be back tomorrow."

 Surprisingly, there were no expletives coming from the Sens dressing room last night after such a poor third period with the Leafs on the ropes. The almost casual way the players dealt with the loss could be taken as a bad sign for Game 6 at the Corel Centre tomorrow.

 "It's awful. That kind of game is not in our character," Smolinksi said. "We put ourselves behind the eight ball again. Maybe you can say we overworked, or overchecked, but we weren't in the right areas we're usually in."

 The Sens fired a series-low 21 shots at Ed Belfour last night, having targeted 30 to 40 as the minimum to yield results.

 "We've done it (forced a Game 7) in the past and Sunday will be another big test for our gut," Smolinki said. "We know we've got what it takes in here."


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