NHL Game Summary - Ottawa at Toronto
(Wednesday, October 3rd)
Final Score: Ottawa 4, Toronto 3 (OT)
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - The freshly-paid Dany Heatley scored the game- tying goal late in the third and netted the deciding tally in overtime, lifting the Ottawa Senators past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-3, as the clubs opened their regular seasons at Air Canada Centre.
Earlier in the day, the Senators reached a long-term agreement with the left winger. Heatley scored 50 goals and had 55 assists during the 2006-07 season.
Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators, while Martin Gerber turned away 26 shots.
This is a home-and-home series, with the clubs meeting Thursday night at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place.
The Senators are coming off the most successful season in franchise history after picking up the team's first Eastern Conference championship and making it to the Stanley Cup finals. They made some personnel changes in the offseason, as last year's head coach Bryan Murray vacated his position to become the franchise's general manager. John Paddock takes over for Murray as the new head coach.
Nikolai Antropov had two goals for Toronto, which held a lead twice in the game. Andrew Raycroft turned away 26 shots in a losing effort.
"It was a good start (for me) but we lost as a team, and that's what matters," said Antropov.
Vermette scored an unassisted marker 7:23 into the contest to give Ottawa the early edge, but Antropov countered with two straight goals to put the Leafs in front.
The first goal came midway through the first and was set up by Jason Blake, who corralled the puck along the left wall and fed it in front. Antropov quickly tucked it past Gerber for the equalizer.
Just over four minutes later Mats Sundin sent a pass into the slot from behind the goal line, and Antropov slipped one through the five-hole to put Toronto ahead.
Alfredsson knotted the game at 2-2 with 5:21 left in the first with a wrister from the right circle that beat Raycroft.
There were plenty of scoring chances for both clubs in the second stanza, but only Toronto was able to break through. That came with just over four minutes remaining, as Matthew Stajan received the puck in the high slot and fired a slapshot that whizzed past Gerber's outstretched glove for a 3-2 Maple Leafs lead.
The Sens continued to apply pressure in the third, though, and netted the tying goal with 5:36 remaining in the game courtesy of Heatley's wrister from the left circle.
Ottawa then won it in overtime, as Heatley got the puck between the circles and shot it past Raycroft at the 2:57 mark.
"It's great to start the season off with a win," Heatley said. "Our goal is to get back to the Stanley Cup finals; this is the start of that long road."
Senators top goaltender Ray Emery missed the opener after offseason wrist surgery...Antropov scored a career-high 18 goals last season...The teams were a combined 0-for-11 on the power play.
10/03 23:10:39 ET