Dany Heatley had the hat trick Thursday night while Jason Spezza and Joe Corvo each had a career-high five points as the Senators routed the rival Toronto Maple Leafs for a second consecutive game, this time 7-2.
Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher also scored for the Senators (5-4-0), who have exploded for 21 goals in the last three games after scoring only 11 in the first six games. The Sens also moved over .500 for the first time since an opening-night victory at Toronto.
Bates Battaglia and Jeff O’Neill replied for the Maple Leafs (4-4-3), who have apparently forgotten how to play defence. The Leafs have given up 33 goals in their last seven games.
The Battle of Ontario continues to be one-sided since the NHL returned from the lockout. Ottawa is 10-2-0 against the Maple Leafs since last October, including 3-1-0 already this season.
Ray Emery stopped 29 shots to improve to 3-1-0 this season while his counterpart Andrew Raycroft had a busier night and faced 40 shots.
A crowd of 19,178 at Scotiabank Place, nearly half of them wearing Maple Leaf jerseys, may have anticipated a chippy affair after all the hype surrounding the beating Toronto’s Darcy Tucker handed Ottawa’s Patrick Eaves in Tuesday’s 6-2 win by the Senators at Air Canada Centre.
While there were big hits, including a brain-rattler from Anton Volchenkov on Tucker in the second period, the bloodbath never materialized.
Rugged Senators winger Chris Neil did look for a fight at the opening faceoff as he lined up opposite Tucker and chirped in his ear, but the Leafs winger didn’t accept the invitation.
Ben Ondrus’s first and only shift of the first period for Toronto wasn’t a memorable one, the young winger’s giveaway at his own blue-line leading to Ottawa’s opening goal by Fisher at 14:07. The Leafs’ fourth line was hemmed into their zone for more than a minute before Fischer tapped it in.
A wild second period featuring seven goals saw Ottawa jump out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Vermette and Heatley 17 seconds apart just over three minutes in, Heatley’s goal a result of a Wade Belak giveaway at the Toronto blue-line.
Battaglia, on a breakaway at 3:46, and O’Neill, on a rebound from in-close at 11:50, had Leafs fans in the building excited as Toronto cut it to 3-2. But Corvo scored on a blast to the top corner at 13:21 and Heatley added a pair from the slot at 16:39 and 17:56 to put the game out of reach.
Spezza made it 7-2 just under three minutes into the final period with a nifty forehand deke and shot. Corvo’s assist on the play gave both players five-point nights.
The Senators finished the game without their top two defencemen after Wade Redden and Chris Phillips both suffered lower body injuries.
Notes: Heatley has 19 goals in 20 games against Toronto . . . Corvo set a team record for points in a game by a defenceman while Spezza’s four assists in the second period set a franchise record for most assists in a single period . . . The record for most points in game by a Senator is held by three players and was achieved by captain Daniel Alfredsson last season . . . Forward John Pohl and defenceman Jay Harrison were healthy scratches for the Leafs. Still injured are defencemen Pavel Kubina (knee, out 2-3 more weeks), Andrew Wozniewski (shoulder, 4-6 months), Staffan Kronwall (ankle, day to day) and forward Nik Antropov (leg, day to day) . . . Winger Peter Schaefer (hip flexor, day to day) was out for Ottawa while winger Denis Hamel was a healthy scratch . . . Ottawa’s next game is Saturday at Boston while the Leafs travel to Montreal for a Hockey Night In Canada clash with the Canadiens.