TORONTO (AP) — Martin Gerber and several other Toronto Maple
Leafs still had something left to play for at the end of a long
Gerber made 37 saves against his former team and helped the
Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators, 5-2, on Saturday night in
the final game of the season for both clubs.
With the Maple Leafs and Senators long out of playoff
contention, this was no Battle of Ontario. But it was a big
victory for Gerber, who started the season with Ottawa before
being claimed off waivers by Toronto last month.
“It was probably more exciting than everybody thought it was
going to be,” Gerber said. “It was well fought to the end. We’re
happy to come out on the good end.”
It was also a big night for Boyd Devereaux, who scored three
goals for Toronto (33-35-13). Niklas Hagman netted the other two
for the Maple Leafs.
“It’s still Saturday night in Toronto and you’re playing for the
Leafs on ‘Hockey Night in Canada,'” Devereaux said. “Definitely
whenever you get a chance to pop a hat trick, you definitely get
excited about it.
“I’m sure it’s more satisfying in a Game 7 playoff game but
certainly I’ll take it. For sure.”
The 30-year-old Devereaux was the Leafs’ final cut out of
training camp and he spent the first couple of months in the
AHL. He was eventually called up in February and he managed to
stay with Toronto the rest of the way. Devereaux can become an
unrestricted free agent in July.
“I’ve come up and just tried to enjoy myself and have fun,”
Devereaux said. “I really relish playing at this level. They
have a lot of hard decisions and I’m sure there’s going to be
lots of changes.
“I’m just going to have to wait and see like pretty much every
other guy in the locker room.”
Jason Spezza and Chris Kelly scored for the Senators (36-34-11),
who missed the playoffs two years after reaching the Stanley Cup
“Any time you lose it’s disappointing,” Senators coach Cory
Clouston said. “But overall, I’m not disappointed in this
There was little on the line beyond pride, although a regulation
loss by the Maple Leafs would have given them an outside chance
at landing the No. 1 pick in the June draft.
With the game tied 2-2 early in the third period, Hagman put the
Maple Leafs ahead for good when he beat Brian Elliott from the
A late power play gave Ottawa a chance for the tying goal, but
Devereaux swooped in while the Maple Leafs were shorthanded and
roofed a backhander to complete his hat trick.
A few hats were thrown on the ice while teammate Matt Stajan
retrieved the puck. It was quite an end to the season for a guy
who spent most of it in the AHL.
“It’s a huge game for him to have a hat trick,” Toronto coach
Ron Wilson said. “Probably the thrill of his lifetime. He’s
worked really hard and you couldn’t be happier for a guy to get
a hat trick in the last game of the season.”
Toronto had already hit two posts when Devereaux made it 1-0 at
4:59 of the first period.
The Senators responded with plenty of energy, but were unable to
beat Gerber with any of their 16 shots in the period. Dany
Heatley had two of the best chances – he couldn’t make much of a
move on a partial breakaway early in the frame but got all of a
one-timer that Gerber stopped with his pad.
Another goal by Devereaux early in the second period made it
2-0. He hammered Lee Stempniak’s pass past Elliott at 4:48.
Gerber was rolling along at the other end until a couple of
gaffes behind the goal allowed Ottawa to tie it 2-2.
Spezza stole the puck from Gerber before coming around the net
and sliding it into the empty net for his 32nd goal at 9:14.
Just under two minutes later, Gerber’s pass to defenseman Ian
White ended up on Kelly’s stick and then into the back of the
Ottawa finished 11th in the Eastern Conference, one spot ahead
of the Maple Leafs. The last time there wasn’t an NHL playoff
game played in Ontario, in years when the postseason was
contested, was in 1992.
“(These games) are meaningless in the standings but they’re
never meaningless to the guys that have to go on the ice and
perform,” Wilson said.