Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Senators 3, Maple Leafs 2



By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer

        OTTAWA — These are not the Ottawa Senators of old — the team that would wilt after the first whiff of playoff adversity.

        Showing newfound composure, the Senators weathered two late goals Monday night and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.

        The Senators lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal 2-1, with Game 4 at Ottawa on Wednesday. This was Ottawa's sixth playoff win, the team's most in one postseason.

        “We did everything right,” said Magnus Arvedson, who scored twice. “We have role players on this team. And these playoffs have been really important with that role play.”

        Ottawa defeated a Maple Leafs team that eliminated the Senators in the last two postseasons. And it came after what could have been a demoralizing 3-2 triple-overtime loss Saturday.

        “It feels pretty good to be up 2-1 against the Leafs,” Arvedson said. “It's one of the toughest games we've had. It's a rivalry.”

        The key for the Senators has been goaltender Patrick Lalime. He already has four shutouts — one short of an NHL record — and has allowed just seven goals in eight games.

        Lalime managed to laugh about losing his shutout Monday night.

        “It made it more exciting,” he said. “Good thing for us is that we had a three-goal lead.”

        Lalime preserved the victory by foiling Alexander Mogilny's attempt to stuff a rebound in the waning seconds.

        Daniel Alfredsson scored Ottawa's third goal with 3:35 remaining. Toronto's Gary Roberts had a goal 19 seconds later and Travis Green scored with 34.5 seconds remaining.

        “We finished the game on a high note, but unfortunately ... they're a very difficult team to play against,” Mogilny said. “We have to learn from our mistakes.”

        Among them is finding a way to cut through the Senators' stifling defense.

        All three Senators goals came during transition, including the score by Alfredsson in which he snapped a 20-footer that beat Curtis Joseph on the glove side.

        Joseph and the Leafs saw the goal differently, accusing Arvedson — pushed into the crease by Toronto's Robert Reichel — of bumping into the goaltender.

        “That one hurts,” Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe said. “The officials are supposed to protect the goalies and this guys goes out there and clips him.”

        For Arvedson, the two scores were his first in 30 career playoff games.

        “I don't go home and think about it really much,” he said. “I relax and I play my game.”

        Mike Fisher initially was credited with the Senators' first goal until a replay showed the puck hit Arvedson's stick.

        “If somebody saw it on the video and gave me the goal, it's OK,” Arvedson said. “I'm just so happy that our line played good.”

        Notes The Leafs welcomed back RW Mikael Renberg, who missed seven games with a pulled hamstring, and D Cory Cross, who missed eight games with a strained abdominal muscle. Leafs D Jyrki Lumme also played despite a slight concussion in Game 2. ... Arvedson's first goal was the first in more than two home playoff games against Toronto; Joseph shut out the Senators twice at the Corel Center in last year's first-round series. ... Toronto D Bryan McCabe, who logged a game-high 52 minutes, 42 seconds of ice time Saturday, is averaging 31:06 of ice time this postseason.

       



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