OTTAWA – Toronto’s first line helped give the Maple Leafs an early lead, and rookie goaltender James Reimer made it stand up in a win over provincial rival Ottawa.
Tyler Bozak scored twice, on assists from linemates Joey Crabb and Phil Kessel, and Reimer won his first NHL start Saturday as the Maple Leafs went into Ottawa and embarrassed the Senators 5-1.
Clarke MacArthur, Luke Schenn and Darryl Boyce also scored for the Maple Leafs (14-19-4), who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Defenceman Tomas Kaberle also had two assists while Reimer made 31 saves.
“It’s a good year so far, even though it’s only been a day,” Bozak said.
“(Crabb) made a couple of great plays to me and I’ve got to finish those off when I get the chance. Phil started off the plays and Crabby gave them both to me so both those guys played great.”
It was Reimer’s first start but second NHL appearance. He played 14 minutes in relief of J.S. Giguere on Dec. 20, stopping all four shots he faced in his debut.
“It was nice to see James get his first win in his first NHL start, it’s just too bad we took a couple of bad penalties to put us down five-on-three, otherwise I think the way we limited their opportunities he could have had a shutout,” Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said.
The Senators (16-19-5) got a power-play goal from Sergei Gonchar after they had already fallen behind 5-0.
Brian Elliott started in goal for the Senators but he was replaced by Mike Brodeur 16 minutes into the first period after allowing three goals on just seven shots. Brodeur made 12 saves.
“What we did was take advantage of a very tired team,” Wilson said, referring to the Senators 4-3 over time loss in Columbus on Friday in which the Senators were down 3-0 at one point.
“They mounted a big comeback and that always drains a lot of energy. We were ready and hungry and we took advantage.”
Ottawa defenceman Chris Campoli said the Senators were not using fatigue as a crutch.
“That’s not an excuse. In this league you play back-to-back games all the time,” Campoli said. “We’re all in good shape, we’re professional athletes and the expectation is to come to play every night.
“We knew (the Leafs) were a team that’s been pretty inconsistent, just like us, and we knew they were going to be ready, so we’re pretty disappointed with the overall effort and performance.”
Although the game was in Ottawa, Toronto’s fans were able to drown out Ottawa supporters and booed every time Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson touched the puck.
Already up 3-0 after the first period, the Maple Leafs added two second-period goals to take a 5-0 lead. Boyce, playing just his second game in the league, scored his first career goal after Brodeur gave up a big rebound off a shot by Kris Versteeg early in the period.
Just shy of the six minute mark, Schenn took a point shot that hit the post and went in behind Brodeur.
The Senators finally got on the scoreboard as they converted on their second extended 5-on-3 power play of the period. Gonchar took a point shot that went through traffic before beating Reimer.
“It was fun and probably the best game I’ve seen us play since I got here, so they made it easy on me,” Reimer said. “I was pretty nervous in the afternoon but as soon as I hit the ice the nerves were gone and I was good.”
MacArthur opened the scoring two minutes into the game when he spun and shot from the face-off circle, beating Elliot. Bozak then scored three minutes apart on set-ups from Crabb and Kessel.
The Senators have now lost three straight and remain seven points out of a playoff spot.
Notes: Defenceman Brian Lee and forward Jarkko Ruutu were healthy scratches for the Senators Saturday while Jason Spezza (shoulder) and Pascal Leclaire (lower body) were out due to injury.…The Senators finished the 2010 calendar year with a 39-34-6 record.…The Leafs were without Mike Brown (finger) and Giguere (groin) Saturday against Ottawa. Defenceman Brett Lebda and forward John Mitchell were healthy scratches.…Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski returned to the lineup after missing one game due to the birth of his daughter Lily.