NHL Game Summary - Ottawa at Toronto
(Wednesday, October 5th)
Final Score: Ottawa 3, Toronto 2 (SO)
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley both scored in the first shootout in NHL history, as the Ottawa Senators rallied for a season-opening 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the newest edition of the Battle of Ontario from Air Canada Centre.
Alfredsson also scored both Ottawa goals in regulation, including the game- tying goal with 1:02 remaining in the third period, for Ottawa, which improved to 6-2-5 all-time in season openers. Goaltender Dominik Hasek made his debut with the Senators and finished with 23 saves. The contest also marked the first game for the Senators under new head coach Bryan Murray.
Eric Lindros played his first game in a Maple Leafs uniform and scored late in the third period for Toronto, which is now 33-41-14 all-time in its season- opening games. Defenseman Bryan McCabe also scored for the Maple Leafs, who received 21 saves from 40-year old goaltender Ed Belfour. Tomas Kaberle registered an assist on both Toronto goals.
Toronto captain Mats Sundin left the game in the first period due to a laceration to his left eye. Sundin, who did not return, was skating after Ottawa forward Bryan Smolinski along with teammate Darcy Tucker. He ran into Smolinski near the blue line and the puck seemed to ricochet off of Tucker and hit Sundin in the eye.
"The report I got is that Sundin was checked out and released from the hospital," said Toronto head coach Pat Quinn. "No damage to the eyeball, but the injury was around the eye."
The opening round of the 2004 postseason is where this bitter rivalry left off. That series went to seven games before the Maple Leafs emerged victorious. One year earlier, the Senators lost in Game 7 of the conference final series to the New Jersey Devils, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
When Lindros brought the sold-out crowd into a frenzy with his goal at 18:29 of the third period, the Leafs took a 2-1 lead. With the contest tied at 1-1 and the Maple Leafs pressing in the Ottawa end, Leafs forward Nik Antropov nearly scored but could not bat the puck out of midair with Hasek sprawled out.
Moments later, the Leafs took the lead on a laser from Lindros. Kaberle corralled the puck along the left boards and passed to Lindros at the top of the right circle. Lindros turned around and fired a wrist shot past Hasek.
But Ottawa refused to go away quietly and Alfredsson's second goal in less than five minutes again tied it up. Jason Spezza went behind the net and won a battle for the puck before he fed it to newly-acquired Heatley, who spotted Alfredsson camped out at the right post. Alfredsson's one-timer at 18:58 paved the way for the first shootout in NHL history.
Alfredsson then beat Belfour low to the glove side in the first shootout attempt in league history and after Heatley also beat Belfour, the Senators skated off with the come-from-behind victory.
"It was tough to lose this way," said Toronto center Matt Stajan. "To get the lead back with less than two minutes (remaining), you shouldn't lose a game that way. No lead is safe in this new NHL."
Before three minutes had elapsed in the game, the Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal. With Chris Neil in the penalty box for tripping, Jason Allison, playing his first game in a Toronto uniform, maneuvered the puck along the left half-wall back to Kaberle at the point. Kaberle slid a pass across the blue line for McCabe, who rifled a one-timer past Hasek low to the glove side.
Later in the frame, Ottawa forward Martin Havlat hustled down the right side on a breakaway and deked to his backhand across the crease. However, Belfour was a bit quicker with his left pad and the Leafs remained on top.
As if scoring on Belfour was not hard enough, the Senators certainly did not help themselves in the second period when they combined for five penalties, including a double-minor for high sticking that saw big blueliner Zdeno Chara sit in the penalty box for four minutes.
However, despite the power-play chances, Toronto could not solve Hasek.
Finally in the third period, Alfredsson scored Ottawa's first goal of the season with a wrist shot from right point. The puck appeared to have been tipped in on its way to the net, but the goal was credited to Alfredsson at 14:12.
Toronto is 42-31-15 in home openers...In the brief intermission that bridged the end of the overtime and the start of the shootout, the Zamboni resurfaced only the middle portion of the ice where the shooters would skate in on goal...The Leafs went 1-for-11 on the power play. Ottawa ended 0-for-5.
10/06 01:59:21 ET