Thursday, May 2, 2002






Toronto -- The Ottawa Senators made an early statement that this "Battle of Ontario" will be a battle.  Patrick Lalime made 27 saves for his fourth shutout of the postseason and Martin Havlat and Radek  Bonk scored power-play goals in the first period as the Senators opened their Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 5-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Entering this season, Lalime had an 0-4 career playoff record -- with all of the losses coming to Toronto  in last year's quarterfinals.  But Lalime was remarkable in the five-game series win over Philadelphia in this season's quarterfinals, posting a microscopic 0.38 goals-against average.  The much-maligned netminder came up big again Thursday, stopping 17 shots in the first two periods and 10 in the final 20 minutes.


"We took the play to them right away," Lalime said. "We had a good forecheck going. The power play scored some goals. I think that was the turning point."Last season, the Senators were embarrassed in getting swept by the Leafs in the "Battle of Ontario," managing just three goals in the four games.  But the Senators started strongly in this one, using power-play goals by Havlat and Bonk and a goal by Shane Hnidy to build a 3-0 lead less than 13 minutes into the contest.


 Ottawa received a beneficial whistle, going 3-of-12 on the power play compared to just 0-of-1 for Toronto.


"It looked easy, but we did a good job on the power play and that's why we won this game," Havlat said."The difference was definitely the penalties," Leafs enforcer Tie Domi said. "Excuses are for losers and we're not going to make excuses." Havlat added two assists and Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and two assists for the Senators, who posted the most lopsided postseason win in club history.


"I don't know if it's as much a big deal as getting the monkey of our back in the first win against Philly," Alfredsson said. "That was big for us. That gave us a lot of confidence. We got off to a good start in this series but have to come ready Saturday."


After winning an emotional, physical series from the New York Islanders in seven games in the quarterfinals, the Leafs had just one day off and that showed in this one as Ottawa started with a flurry.


Alexander Mogilny, who scored two goals in Game Seven for the Leafs, had an early miscue Thursday as he was called for a high-sticking double minor 7:15 into the contest.


The Senators needed just 29 seconds to take advantage on the ensuing power play. Working along the right goal line, Bonk made a cross-crease pass to Havlat, who tapped the puck past Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph. Havlat's other goal was the series-clinching tally in overtime against Philadelphia.


With Mogilny still in the penalty box, Bonk rocketed a slap shot by Joseph at 9:04 for his second postseason goal, giving Ottawa a 2-0 lead.


"I don't know if we were tired," Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe said. "We weren't ready to start, that's for sure. They got two quick goals on that (penalty). It was a tough break for Al-mo (Mogilny). He was trying to lift the stick but hit him (Benoit Brunet) in the head, but once again specialty teams were the key."


Just over two minutes later, the Senators extended the lead to 3-0 when Hnidy scored on a deflection in front. The play needed a video review to see if the puck was over the goal line before Hnidy was credited with his first career postseason goal.


Lalime made his two best two saves of period on Gary Roberts from down low with under 10 minutes left. Ottawa needed just 1:42 into the second before pushing the lead to 4-0. From behind the net, Brunet threw a pass to Todd White in the slot, where he beat Joseph with a quick one-timer.


Brilliant in the series-clinching victory over the Islanders, Joseph allowed five goals on 33 shots in this one.  Alfredsson capped the scoring with his fourth playoff goal with 9:21 left in the second.  Lalime also came up big in the finals seconds of the middle period, kicking up his pads to stop Robert Reichel from the slot.


In the third period, the Leafs appeared to get on the board when Shayne Corson put a shot by Lalime with 14:21 remaining. But Domi was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Defenseman Jyrki Lumme also beat Lalime with a shot, but it came after the final buzzer.



OTTAWA              3     2     0   --5
TORONTO             0     0     0   --0
FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Ottawa, Martin Havlat 2 (power play) (Radek
Bonk, Marian Hossa), 7:44. 2, Ottawa, Radek Bonk 2 (power play) 
(Daniel Alfredsson, Martin Havlat), 9:04. 3, Ottawa, Shane Hnidy 1 
(Marian Hossa), 11:44.  Penalties: A Mogilny, Tor (high sticking, ), 
7:15; T Kaberle, Tor (hooking), 13:35; M Arvedson, Ott (ob holding the
stick), 15:51; T Green, Tor (high sticking), 18:17.
SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 4, Ottawa, Todd White 1 (Benoit Brunet, Daniel
Alfredsson), 1:42. 5, Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson 4 (Wade Redden, Martin
Havlat), 10:39.  Penalties: D Tucker, Tor (charging), 6:27; D Tucker, 
Tor (holding stick), 9:09; T Green, Tor (high sticking), 10:21; S 
Corson, Tor (slashing), 15:47.
THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: None.  Penalties: T Domi, Tor (goalie interference), 5:39; Bench, Tor (too many men served by A Ponikarovsky), 8:36; C Joseph, Tor (delay of game served by T Green), 10:23; C Neil, Ott (unsportsmanlike cond), 13:20; T Domi, Tor (unsportsmanlike cond), 13:20; T Green, Tor (high sticking), 16:22; B Mccabe, Tor (misconduct), 16:22.
Shots on goal:
OTTAWA             12   13    8   --33   
TORONTO             9    8   10   --27   
Power-play Conversions: OTT - 3 of 12, TOR - 0 of 1. Goalies : Ottawa,
Patrick Lalime (27 shots, 27 saves; record: 5-1-0). Toronto, Curtis 
Joseph (33 shots, 28 saves; record: 4-4-0). A: 19,406.  Referees: Dan 
Marouelli, Mike Mcgeough. Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Brian Murphy.