Leafs overcome Sens in Battle of Ontario

Leafs scorers: Holland (3), van Riemsdyk (6), Leivo (1), Santorelli (2), Clarkson (4)
Senators scorers: Hoffman (1), Turris (2), Stone (1),
Goalies: Reimer (Win), 60:00 minutes played, 38 saves, 3GA, Lehner (Loss), 58:17 minutes played, 25 saves, 5 GA

Less than 24 hours after a hard-fought win against the New York Rangers on Saturday night, the Leafs were in the nation’s capital set to face off against the Ottawa Senators. The game was originally scheduled to take place on October 22nd and was postponed to Sunday due to the attacks on Parliament Hill. Both teams paid respect to fallen reservist Corporal Nathan Cirillo in a ceremony on Parliament Hill on Sunday afternoon.

After giving up the games first goal in the first minute for two consecutive games, the Leafs knew they needed to get to the Senators early and prevent fatigue from setting in during the first period. But it was clear that they hadn’t yet kicked the habit and Mike Hoffman got the Senators on the board with an unassisted goal just three minutes into the game. It seemed like the Leafs couldn’t quite keep their focus after the early goal and struggled through much of the first. As the period reached its final minutes, Peter Holland managed to make it a tie game. But the relief was short lived for the Leafs as Kyle Turris got the Senators in front again just two minutes later.

The Leafs regrouped in time for the second period and pulled even just as the period got underway on a bizarre tally by James van Riemsdyk, the puck looping high above Sens goalie Robin Lehner before entering the net. But the Senators weren’t ready to let the Leafs take control and Mark Stone gave his team a 3-2 lead just two minutes later on a power-play goal. The Leafs were determined to keep pace with the Senators and the flurry of goals and Josh Leivo tied the game just three minutes later.

As the period reached the midway point, the Leafs found themselves ahead once again on a shorthanded goal from Mike Santorelli – accepting a feed after some nice hustle by Holland down the wing – and didn’t look back. In the early minutes of the final period, David Clarkson made it 5-3 which would be the game’s final score.

The Canadian Tire Centre is often a divided building with a raucous crowd whenever the Leafs are in town and James Reimer spoke to the media after the game about what its like to play in Ottawa. “It’s a great atmosphere here, arguable one of the best, especially when we’re in town. The rivalry and the amount of fans that come out, I think its one of the best buildings to play in.”

The Leafs will have a two-day break after their back-to-back games this weekend and will take on the Boston Bruins on Wednesday evening.

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