Leafs even the score

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 5:14 PM ET

 TORONTO -- The Senators were their own worst enemy last night at the Air Canada Centre.

 While they had talked beforehand about staying disciplined in Game 2 of the Battle of Ontario against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Senators were anything but at crucial times during a 2-0 loss.

  The result tied up the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final at 1-1 heading into Game 3 tomorrow night at the Corel Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS).

 The Senators handed the Leafs seven power-play opportunities and allowed nemesis Gary Roberts to score two goals. But Ottawa couldn't beat Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour, who made 31 saves, and was stymied on six power-play chances of their own.

 As a result, the Senators were forced to settle for coming home with a split. The next two games -- tomorrow and Wednesday -- are at the Corel Centre.

 "We've got to play better as a team and we've got to have more discipline," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We couldn't get our power play going and we have to adjust to what the officials are calling.

 "It's obvious they're clamping down on the slashing of the sticks and the unnecessary roughness calls. We have to be better in those areas.":

 One thing is certain -- this series had turned into a hard-hitting, bloody affair.

 And itcould get uglier yet.

 After the game, Toronto coach Pat Quinn accused Senators winger Vaclav Varada of trying to take out Leafs captain Mats Sundin's knees on a hit late in the third period.

 Sundin retaliated and received a double minor.

 "(Varada is) not attacking the upper body there. He's going after the lower body," said Quinn. "He's trying to take his (knee) out. He did it. You can say what you want. The league, in all its wisdom, is trying to clamp down on these things and they make the call on some teams, but not on others.

 "We've got enough hard hits without trying to wipe somebody out. You can't have that cheap sort of stuff."

 Varada denied Quinn's charges.

 "That's not true," he said. "(Sundin) just slipped when I went to hit him. He could not stop. I was just trying to finish my check. He had his head down.

 "It was a hard-hitting game. They finished their checks, we finished our checks."

 All of this should fuel the fire even further for Game 3, when the Senators will need to rediscover their touch on the power play.

 Last night, Ottawa had a chance to get back in the game with a 5-on-3 advantage for 47 seconds in the third period. But the Senators couldn't beat Belfour, who robbed Alfredsson with a stunning glove slave.

 Maybe Quinn's constant complaining about the officiating for the 24 hours leading up to Game 2 paid off, as the Senators paraded to the penalty box in rather uncharacteristic fashion at the hands of Kevin Pollock and Brad Watson.

 The Leafs got their break early in the second when they were awarded a 5-on-3 advantage for a span of 1:54.

 While Alfredsson (roughing) and defenceman Zdeno Chara (cross check) were sitting in the penalty box, Roberts scored his second of the game to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead.

 Though Lalime made a couple of big stops, the Senators were outmanned in front and Roberts was allowed to backhand home the rebound virtually untouched. That made the mountain too high for the Senators to climb.

 "We need to do a better job on the power play and we have to play with more discipline," said Senators centre Todd White. "We did a lot of good things, but we've got to be better as a team. We need to get more traffic in front of Belfour."

 Still, the Senators were happy to get the split.

 "We did a lot of good things and we played a strong game," said Lalime. "We have to work harder, but we've got a lot we can build on. We got the split and we're going home. We feel like we're in a good position."


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