By HOWARD BERGER
OTTAWA (Oct. 30) – There wasn’t much to choose from on the weekend, as the Maple Leafs were involved in a pair of one goal games: a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday, and a 3-2 loss to the Senators here in Ottawa on Sunday.
The game at Scotiabank Place turned on two plays. The decisive goal, which put Ottawa ahead, 3-1, at 7:08 of the third period was a fluttering shot from 35 feet that Jonas Gustavsson should have been able to handle blind-folded. Instead, the volley from the right-wing boards by Senators rookie Kaspars Daugavins hand-cuffed the Toronto netminder and proved to be the winning goal. “Yes, of course, that’s a shot I should stop any night,” Gustavsson admitted after yielding Daugavins’ first NHL tally.
Even more bizarre was the play that tied the match, 1-1, late in the opening frame. Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson was off for cross-checking when Ottawa freshman David Rundblad gobbled up a loose puck to the right of the Senators net. At the same time, Colin Greening of Ottawa somehow snuck behind the Leafs defense pairing of Luke Schenn and Dion Phaneuf. Rundblad rifled a 135-foot pass that Greening accepted behind the Toronto players and sped in alone on Gustavsson, scoring with a wrist-shot to the glove side.
“The game changed after that,” said Leafs coach Ron Wilson. “We were leading, 1-0, and controlling the play pretty well until that goal. It lit a candle for Ottawa and they played well the rest of the night.”
Clarke MacArthur, after a slow first couple of weeks, is suddenly clicking. He had both Toronto goals against the Senators and has scored four times in the past three games.
Leafs resume this three-game road trip in New Jersey on Wednesday, and play at Columbus on Thursday.
My photos, below, from a day (and night) here in Ottawa:
ON THE CLIMB OUT OF TORONTO EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, I GOT A COUPLE OF NEAT IMAGES AS THE AIR CANADA AIRBUS-320 SKIRTED THE SHORE OF LAKE ONTARIO (ABOVE AND BELOW). BOTH PHOTOS SHOW THE ROGERS CENTRE (WHERE BUFFALO AND WASHINGTON WERE PLAYING AN NFL GAME); THE C.N. TOWER, AND THE AIR CANADA CENTRE (AT FAR RIGHT IN EACH PICTURE).
ANY PERSON HAVING LANDED AT OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IS LIKELY FAMILIAR WITH THE WATER-FALL DISPLAY (ABOVE) IN THE BAGGAGE-CLAIM AREA.
AS ALWAYS, FANS OF THE SENATORS AND MAPLE LEAFS FILE INTO SCOTIABANK PLACE (ABOVE), 90 MINUTES BEFORE THE 7:30 P.M. PUCK-DROP.
VIEW (ABOVE) FROM BEHIND THE ZAMBONI ENTRANCE PRIOR TO PRE-GAME WARM-UP.
THOUGH HE HAD A QUIET NIGHT AGAINST THE LEAFS, TORONTO NATIVE JASON SPEZZA (ABOVE) HAS BEEN PLAYING TERRIFIC HOCKEY FOR FIRST-YEAR COACH PAUL MacLEAN, SCORING AT MORE THAN A POINT-PER-GAME CLIP.
A CROWD OF 19,522 WAS ON HAND FOR THE LATEST BATTLE OF ONTARIO.
LEAF TEAMMATES CONGRATULATE CLARKE MacARTHUR AFTER HIS FIRST OF TWO GOALS AGAINST OTTAWA. MacARTHUR HAS FOUR GOALS IN THE PAST THREE GAMES.
CENTRE COLIN GREENING (ABOVE) WAS A FORCE ALL NIGHT FOR OTTAWA. HIS BREAKAWAY GOAL – OFF A 135-FOOT PASS BY TEAMMATE DAVID RUNDBLAD LATE IN THE FIRST PERIOD – TIED THE GAME, 1-1, AND CHANGED THE NIGHT’S MOMENTUM, ACCORDING TO LEAFS COACH RON WILSON.
SECOND-YEAR PRO ROBIN LEHNER (ABOVE) MADE HIS FIRST START OF THE SEASON IN GOAL FOR OTTAWA, WHICH WORE ITS THROW-BACK JERSEY AGAINST THE LEAFS.
PUCK IS BEHIND LEAFS GOALIE JONAS GUSTAVSSON (ABOVE), AS SENATORS CELEBRATE CHRIS NEIL’S RE-DIRECTION AT 7:59 OF THE SECOND PERIOD – A POWERPLAY MARKER THAT GAVE OTTAWA ITS FIRST LEAD OF THE NIGHT [2-1]. NEIL GOT HIS STICK-BLADE ON A ONE-TIMER FROM INSIDE THE POINT BY DEFENSEMAN ERIK KARLSSON.
THOUGH IT WAS A FAIRLY TAME MATCH, TEMPERS DID FLARE A BIT IN THE SECOND PERIOD (ABOVE) WITH LEAFS DEFENSEMAN MIKE KOMISAREK GETTING SOME RUDE TREATMENT.
OTTAWA PLAYERS GATHER AROUND COACH PAUL MacLEAN (ABOVE) AFTER LEAFS CALLED TIME-OUT IN THE LAST 90 SECONDS OF REGULATION.
LEAFS PLAYED THE LAST MINUTE-AND-A-HALF WITH JONAS GUSTAVSSON ON THE BENCH FOR AN EXTRA ATTACKER (ABOVE), BUT DID NOT THREATEN TO TIE THE MATCH. THE SCOREBOARD AT SCOTIABANK PLACE (BELOW) TOLD THE FINAL STORY.
LEAFS’ TWO-GOAL MAN, CLARKE MacARTHUR, TALKS WITH TORONTO SUN HOCKEY GURU MIKE ZEISBERGER (ABOVE) AFTER THE GAME, OUTSIDE THE VISITORS’ DRESSING ROOM.