Work in Sports
KANATA, Ontario (Ticker) -- Now it is a battle.
Andreas Dackell scored off a pair of odd-man rushes and Tom Barrasso made 31 saves as the Ottawa Senators squared their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at two wins apiece with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The much-hyped "Battle of Ontario" appeared one-sided after the Maple Leafs opened the series with a pair of home wins. But Ottawa stormed back at the Corel Centre and reduced this to a best-of-three affair.
Game Five is Saturday at Toronto.
"It was an excellent team effort," Senators coach Jacques Martin said. "Tonight it was Dackell and (Shawn) McEachern, while last game it was guys like (Vaclav) Prospal and (Radek) Bonk. Players like (Shaun) Van Allen and (Colin) Forbes came out and finished their checks."
Dackell failed to record a point in the first three games but did all the scoring for the Senators tonight. The Swedish right wing converted a pair of 2-on-1s, breaking a scoreless deadlock 8:15 into the second period and giving Ottawa a 2-0 lead at 3:23 of the third.
Sergei Berezin had the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, who had a decided edge in shots for the second straight game but hit three goalposts in the second period.
"We all thought it would be a tough series," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "They played well tonight. We didn't penetrate as well as we should have, so we weren't good enough to win. You try to guard for breaks, including lucky bounces, but you can't worry about that stuff. It's gone by. All that matters is the next game. The past is the past."
Toronto outshot the Senators, 11-9, in a scoreless first period.
But Dackell put Ottawa ahead for good 8:15 into the second. He raced down the left side on a 2-on-1 and pulled up at the faceoff dot. After defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev slid by trying to block the shot, Dackell put a wrist shot under goaltender Curtis Joseph's blocker for his third career postseason goal.
With eight minutes left in the second, Leafs defenseman Cory Cross snapped a shot from the top of the slot off the right post. Seconds later, Barrasso stopped Cross' slapper and Darcy Tucker put the rebound off the outside of the right post.
Toronto nearly tied it on the power play, but Berezin's blast from the top of the left faceoff circle rang off the left post with 4:14 left in the period.
"My play doesn't bother me. All that matters is that we won the last two games. That's what I'm truly happy about," said Barrasso, who surrendered seven goals in the first two games and four in the last two. "If you play a great game and you don't win, then it doesn't matter how you played. I have my name on the Cup twice, but some of the guys aren't as fortunate. This is what we're playing for, this is our lives."
Dackell made it 2-0 early in the third. Cross whiffed on an attempt to keep in a bouncing puck at the left point, springing Dackell and McEachern on a 2-on-1. Dackell reached the right circle and, after defenseman Gerald Diduck slid to block the passing lane, beat Joseph with a wrister to the stick side.
"I just waited a long time and couldn't make the pass because the defenseman slid across. So I decided to shoot," Dackell said. "It was basically the same play as my first goal."
"The puck hit something and bounced three feet in the air. I took a swipe at it, trying to keep it in their zone, but I wish I hadn't," said Cross. "They got a lot of lucky bounces, including four posts. But we'll rally back."
The Maple Leafs finally got one past Barrasso on their 31st shot of the game. Ottawa's Magnus Arvedson was checked in the neutral zone, giving Berezin room as he skated down the right side. He unleashed a slapper from the faceoff dot, beating Barrasso inside the far post for his second goal of the series with 3:50 to play.
Barrasso made a blocker stop on Dmitri Khristich just under a minute later, but Toronto had trouble penetrating the Senators' zone after pulling Joseph for an extra attacker in the final minute.
"That funny bounce on that second goal cost us the game. But that's hockey, I guess," said Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin.
"Both teams are in the battle of their lives. And now it comes down to a best-of-three series."