TORONTO – Ben Scrivens wouldn’t take all the credit Saturday night for his career milestone.
Scrivens stopped 34 shots for his first career shutout, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs past the injury-ravaged Ottawa Senators 3-0.
“Yeah, feels good,” Scrivens said of his achievement. “Mostly it’s gratitude for the guys playing well in front of me.
“Any goalie will tell you a shutout is a team stat and the guys definitely helped me out big time tonight. They let me see the puck, they cleared away second chances so much of the credit goes to them.”
Scrivens was making his second straight start since incumbent James Reimer suffered a knee injury in Monday night’s 5-2 win over Philadelphia. The 26-year-old Albertan has certainly been solid as Reimer’s replacement, having stopped 96 of the 100 shots he has faced.
And his body language suggested the gravity of the situation played on his mind the more the clock ticked down.
“No,” Scrivens said with a smile while moving his eyes back and forth in jest when asked if he began thinking about the shutout late in the contest. “I was focused completely on the game.”
Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said Scrivens was very solid.
“He stood in the net, he stood tall, he made some big stops, was in good position, he battled hard,” Carlyle said. “Specifically in the third I thought he was better than the first two periods because I thought they went to the net harder and involved four man in the rush a lot more times.
“He was able to see pucks and (there was) a big penalty kill at the end. All those things are things you have to have to win hockey games.”
Frazer McLaren, Tyler Bozak and John-Michael Liles scored for Toronto (9-6), which earned its fifth win in six games. The Leafs got back on track after dropping a 3-1 road decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
“Well, we got outworked in Raleigh,” Carlyle said. “We stated that and put that to our players that our commitment to the work ethic had to be to the higher level than it was in the last game.
“The message was it was unacceptable . . . because we knew we were going to play an Ottawa club that was going to be very hungry. Any time you’re playing teams that are decimated by injuries, and we have our fair share but they have an abnormal amount over there, and when you have callups from the American (Hockey) League you know you’re going to get an A-plus effort and that’s what they did tonight.”
Ottawa (7-6-2) dropped to 2-5 on the road despite outshooting Toronto 34-28 in the first of five matchups this season between the provincial rivals. The Senators have now dropped six of their last eight games.
Saturday’s contest was Ottawa’s first since losing Norris Trophy-winning defenceman Erik Karlsson to a season-ending Achilles injury in Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh. In 14 games this season, Karlsson had a team-high six goals and his 10 points left him second in team scoring after last year establishing career highs in games (81), goals (19), assists (59) and points (78).
Ottawa is also minus forward Jason Spezza (back) and came into Saturday’s contest having lost 47 man-games to injury already this season.
Still, Senators head coach Paul MacLean felt his club had a chance to win.
“We just didn’t have any puck luck and they did,” he said. “It’s not like they scored any pretty, highlight-reel goals
“We’re pretty pleased in how we played, just disappointed in not scoring and getting anything out of the game. But if we continue to play with the determination we did tonight, we feel we’re going to get some opportunities to get some goals.”
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson agreed.
“We played a pretty solid road game,” Alfredsson said. “They get their bounces on their two bounces and we can’t find ours.
“Overall, the new guys came in and the whole team played a solid road game and gave us a chance to win.”
McLaren had the lone goal of the first when Mark Fraser’s wrist shot from the point appeared to bounce off McLaren and past Ottawa’s Craig Anderson at 3:14. It was McLaren’s first of the season and first with Toronto.
Ottawa controlled play in a scoreless second, outshooting Toronto 19-10 and twice having 3-on-1 advantages. The Senators also had a pair of power-play chances but couldn’t beat Scrivens.
Bozak’s goal at 8:32 of the third gave Toronto some much-needed breathing room. Captain Dion Phaneuf’s pass deflected in Bozak for his fifth of the season. Liles scored into the empty net at 19:22 to cement the victory.
NOTES: There were 19,517 in attendance at Air Canada Centre . . . The Leafs honoured the surviving members of the 1963 Stanley Cup-winning team prior to the contest. The ’63 squad is regarded as the best-ever in Toronto franchise history . . . Toronto and Ottawa were 3-3-0 in head-to-head meetings last year with the road team winning four of the contests . . . The Senators will conclude a three-game road trip Monday night against New Jersey while Toronto will visit the Florida Panthers that night . . . Alfredsson is in his 13th season as Ottawa’s captain, making him the longest-serving captain in the NHL.