By: David Alter.
Leafs 6 Senators 5
For about 50 minutes the Maple Leafs completely dominated a Senators team that looked as bad as their expansion 91-92 team they have been commemorating.
With a 5-1 lead midway through the third period, Ottawa battled back with three goals in the span of 4:40 to cut Maple Leafs lead down to a goal.
Phil Kessel ended up being the difference maker getting a hat trick, his third goal winding up to be the eventual game winner.
“Feels good, most important thing is we battled and got a win.” said Kessel. That’s not the way we want to play, only our second game of the season so we can only get better.”
The Senators brought it back to within a goal with under two minutes to go, when Stephane Da Costa buried one past James Reimer to make it 6-5. Kessel was then rewarded by Head Coach Ron Wilson, playing in the final portion with the Sens using an extra attacker.
“He did an outstanding job. I put him out there probably everyone questioning my sanity but I rewarded him for his three goals” says Wilson. “He worked and he showed a lot of determination in that situation so it was great for Phil, great for his confidence.”
The entire second line of Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul combined for four goals and four assists.
James Reimer collected his second win of the season. After two periods, it was looking like Reimer was going to be the first Leaf netminder to start a season with two shutouts since 1930-31. Reimer never expected the kind of onslaught that followed from Ottawa.
“I’m kind of hoping it was all a dream and I’m going to wake up soon and go out there for the third (period)” said Reimer. “The fans got their money’s worth and we got the two points, sometimes there are games like that.”
Reimer played 101 minutes and 42 seconds of shutout hockey before conceding the first goal.
Not only did the Maple Leafs get more contribution from Dion Phaneuf by way of an assist and a +2 on the night, but he also delivered probably the biggest hit you can deliver that wouldn’t come with any fine or suspension, leveling Stephane Da Costa in the neutral zone.
“The one thing that bugs me is when you make a clean hit, guys come in and expect you to fight” said Phaneuf after his hit caused Chris Neil to pick a fight with Luke Schenn shortly afterwards. “I don’t have anything to prove to them, I’m going to play the style that I play. That’s the one thing I don’t understand.”
Note: Colton Orr scored a goal in his first game since returning from a concussion which kept him out since January.