Ugly goals would be welcome

DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:28 PM ET

TORONTO - Saying the Leafs have had a bit of a problem scoring over the past several games is like saying it gets a bit cold in Winnipeg in the winter.

Toronto had managed to put just seven pucks into opposing nets while going 1-4-1 in its past six games heading into Tuesday night’s contest against the Ottawa Senators. But centre Tim Brent thinks he has the cure for the snake-bitten Leafs.

“We need to get some ugly goals to get out of this little funk,” says Brent, who had scored twice going into last night. “We definitely have the crew in here to do that.”

When it comes to potting an ugly one for the team, winger Kris Versteeg is all for it – and he’s willing to put his money where his, er, rump is.

“Going to the net and getting one off the butt or something like that would be pretty good right now,” Versteeg said.

WE BRING IT

Under-fire captain Dion Phaneuf doesn’t appear to be taking it too personally that the boo-birds came out Saturday during a 2-0 loss to the Rangers, with the defenceman being the main target of their discontent.

“(The fans) want to win just as bad as we want to win,” Phaneuf said after the morning skate.

“Our job is to win hockey games, that’s what we’re here to do. They’re going to voice their opinions and sometimes it’s bad. They deserve to see wins. It’s not for a lack of effort, that’s for sure. We bring everything we have every night.”

Fans at the Air Canada Centre didn’t like it much when a bad Phaneuf giveaway at the opposing blue line led to a breakaway and an eventual penalty shot goal for the Rangers. But, overall, Phaneuf, who has struggled early on with no goals and a team-high minus-6 rating heading into the game Tuesday night, is happy with his game.

“I feel good. I’m getting pucks through, I’m getting chances. Sometimes they go (in), sometimes they don’t … If I wasn’t getting the puck on net and getting those chances, I’d be worried.”

UP FOR A BATTLE

The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Phaneuf says he just loves the Battle of Ontario, where the fierceness of the competition is racketed up an extra notch.

“I don’t think it gets much better than that,” Phaneuf said of the rivalry between the Leafs and Senators. “There’s a lot of emotion in these games, the fans are always into it, whether we’re in our building or in theirs. There’s a little more animosity on the ice and in the crowd. They’re exciting to play in and we’re looking forward to it.”

Phaneuf was probably hoping the animosity wouldn’t be coming from Leafs supporters this time.

JIGGY LIKES IT

While goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere realizes his team is having problems scoring right now, he says he likes what he sees and believes the Leafs will get back to their winning ways soon.

“All we need to do is get a little dirty, go to the net and shoot the puck,” said Giguere, who was 4-2-1 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.27 goals against average going into the game against the Senators. “I thought the last game we played (a 2-0 loss to the Rangers), we had amazing scoring chances that just didn’t pan out. And when things go your way, these are going to go in.”


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