x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

NHL: Maple Leafs claim bragging rights over injury-hit Senators

Toronto ran out 3-0 winners over Ottawa as the Senators' injury list took its toll on the Battle of Ontario.

Toronto's Frazer McLaren celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators.
Toronto's Frazer McLaren celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators.

The Toronto Maple Leafs showed no mercy to their injury-ravaged rivals after claiming a 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators in the 'Battle of Ontario'.

The Senators have five players on what amounts to an All-Star disabled list - including Erik Karlsson, the NHL's defenceman.

They were forced to call up fresh troops from their minor league affiliate, with Derek Grant, David Dziurzynski and defenceman Eric Gryba all making their NHL debuts.

With top playmaker Jason Spezza also out of action, the team could not find a way to put a puck past Ben Scrivens, the Maple Leafs' backup keeper, who stopped 34 shots in his first career shutout.

"Any goalie will tell you a shutout is a team stat and the guys definitely helped me out big-time today," Scrivens said afterwards.

"Definitely happy I was up to the task, test my mettle but the way the guys played in front of me made me look pretty good."

With both benches stocked with newcomers, the rivalry between the national and provincial capitals lacked its usual bite.

Frazer McLaren scored his first goal of the season to give Toronto a 1-0 lead in a dull opening period.

The tempo picked up in a scoreless second but it wasn't until the third that the crowd came to life, as Tyler Bozak provided an insurance marker and John-Michael Liles scored into an empty net.

Even with a patchwork line-up, the Senators have refused to wave the white flag and remain confident they can recover to make the playoffs.

"You really have to embrace what is ahead of us, it's an opportunity to show what we are made of," said Craig Anderson, the Senators netminder.

"That is the name of the game, there is always going to be changes.

"It's obviously an adjustment there are going to be bigger roles for different players and you have to take that bull by the horns and ride it."

Brendan Gallagher and Rene Bourque each had a goal and an assist to lead the North-east-leading Montreal Canadiens to their third straight victory, 4-1 over the Philadelphia Flyers.

It was not all good news for Gallagher, though, as the rookie was forced to exit the game in the third with an upper-body injury after Luke Schenn checked him into the boards.

David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec also scored to for the Canadiens - who have been red hot since losing 6-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs a week ago - while Daniel Briere tallied for the Flyers.

John Tavares had three goals an assist as the New York Islanders saw off the New Jerset Devils 5-1.

The Islanders' other goals came from Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson, who also provided three assists.

Benoît Pouliot scored his second goal in overtime to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-5 win over the Florida Panthers.

Steven Stamkos also scored twice for Tampa, while Teddy Purcell netted 11 seconds from the end of regulation to send the game into OT.

Martin Hanzal had two goals and an assist as the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3, while the Anaheim Ducks stretched their winning streak to four by beating the Nashville Predators 3-2 via a shoot-out and the Edmonton Oilers saw off the Colorado Avalanche 6-4.