Senators survive blowing big lead, beat Leafs in first shootout of NHL season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Senators survive blowing big lead, beat Leafs in first shootout of NHL season

October 10, 2015 - 8:16 PM

TORONTO - Three-on-three overtime isn't going to lead to a goal every time, so the Ottawa Senators made sure in the shootout they wouldn't let two points slip away.

The Senators blew a three-goal lead but came back to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 Saturday night in the first shootout of the NHL season. Craig Anderson made seven saves in three-on-three overtime to make it possible.

"At this point, we just won the game, so we're happy," said Anderson, who stopped 37 of the 41 shots he faced through regulation and the extra period. "You just dig down deep, especially when we went down four-on-three there, and you just find a way."

While the Leafs vowed to be better about not slumping after giving up goals and made good on that, the Senators again relaxed with a lead as they did in their opener Thursday in Buffalo. It's a problem players lamented happening even last year when they roared back from a bad start to make the playoffs.

"We just find a way to kind of lose our intensity, lose our forecheck and back off a bit," said Kyle Turris, who scored Ottawa's first of three power-play goals in the second period. "We squeaked out a win last game, we squeaked out a win tonight. It's something we've got to all learn and find a way to fix."

The Senators (2-0-0) would like to get fixing it quick with the unbeaten Montreal Canadiens visiting them Sunday night. The Leafs don't play again until facing the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

After Ottawa took a 3-0 lead on goals by Turris, Alex Chiasson and Milan Michalek, coach Dave Cameron wasn't pleased at the "gift" goals his team gave up. Patrick Wiercioch served the puck up right on the tape of Joffrey Lupul's stick to get the Leafs on the board, and all of a sudden players could feel the game shifting.

"Once they get one, the momentum starts going, they get two," Turris said, citing Tyler Bozak's goal a few minutes later. "It just grows, right? So you've kind of got to stop them after one."

The Leafs (0-2-1) didn't even stop after two, tying the score in the third period on a power-play goal by Peter Holland. For a team that was blown out 4-0 Friday night in head coach Mike Babcock's return to Detroit, digging out of a deep hole showed some refreshing resiliency.

"What I like, we have a tendency when things go bad we seem to feel bad, we seem to be fragile, we don't just keep playing," Babcock said. "Tonight we kept playing."

The Leafs kept playing after Mark Stone tipped Mike Hoffman's shot past James Reimer in the third period and tied the score again when Daniel Winnik knocked the puck out of the air with 3:38 left. Referees waved off the goal at first, but the situation room asked for the horn to stop play, ruling it was a goal.

In overtime, Anderson stifled the Leafs at three-on-three and then on the four-on-three penalty kill to get the game to the shootout, where Hoffman got the winner.

"Our power play was really good tonight and our penalty kill in overtime won us the game along with Anderson," said Hoffman, who scored in the shootout for the first time in his NHL career. "We can tip the two points to those guys, for sure."

Reimer did his best to get two points for the Leafs, allowing four goals he couldn't be blamed for on 33 shots. As he tries to become the starter, it was a performance Reimer could be proud of and one that might give Babcock some pause after weak outings by Jonathan Bernier.

"It was good, I think?" Reimer said. "But at the end of the day, not good enough, unfortunately."

Notes — Roman Polak and Michael Grabner made their Leafs debuts, replacing Scott Harrington and Shawn Matthias. The team announced Matthias was day-to-day with a shoulder injury that Babcock said was not serious. ... Shane Prince and Chris Wideman were healthy scratches for Ottawa.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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