Originally created 05/11/02

Senators beat Maple Leafs, lead series 3-2



TORONTO -- First, Daniel Alfredsson took out Darcy Tucker. Seconds later, Alfredsson took out the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Alfredsson scored with 2:01 left, lifting the Ottawa Senators to a 4-2 victory Friday night. The victory gave the Senators a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Game 6 is at Ottawa on Sunday. It's been a topsy-turvy series in which neither team has yet to win two in a row.

It's also been a series played under much dispute.

Friday's game was delayed for five minutes after the sold-out - and booing - Air Canada Centre crowd littered the ice with cups and paper.

It was all a result of Alfredsson's goal.

Alfredsson forced a turnover in the Toronto zone when he hit Tucker from behind, sending Tucker crashing into the boards. Tucker lay writhing in pain on the ice, favoring his shoulder. No penalty was called. Meanwhile, Ottawa's Yuha Ylonen centered the puck to Alfredsson from behind the net, and Alfredsson roofed a shot over goaltender Curtis Joseph.

Tucker eventually got up on his own strength, and headed directly toward the Toronto dressing room.

This is but the latest dispute in a series in which both teams have complained about the officiating.

The Senators have been unhappy, accusing Toronto players of pushing their own goal off its posts on a number of occasions.

The Maple Leafs were livid when Alfredsson's eventual game-winning goal in Game 3 was allowed to stand, accusing Ottawa's Benoit Brunet of interfering with Joseph.

Tucker had a controversial hit of his own in Toronto's first-round victory over the New York Islanders, hitting Michael Peca with a low check that knocked the Islanders forward out of the playoffs with a torn knee ligament.

Wade Redden, Marian Hossa, and Radek Bonk, into an empty net, also scored for the Senators.

Gary Roberts and Alyn McCauley each had a goal and assist for the banged-up Maple Leafs. Along with playing their 10th game in 18 nights, the Leafs are minus four regulars, including captain Mats Sundin (broken wrist).

The Senators squandered two one-goal leads before pulling out the victory - two nights after they blew a 1-0 lead in a 2-1 loss at Ottawa in Game 4.

Roberts tied the game at 1 with 17.9 seconds remaining in the first period, redirecting McCauley's hard centering pass over Ottawa goaltender Patrick Lalime.

Hossa, ending a five-game goal drought, regained the Senators' lead seven minutes into the second period when his bad-angle shot deflected off Toronto defender Tomas Kaberle's stick and in over Joseph, who was anticipating a pass into the middle.

The Leafs are waiting for someone other than Roberts and McCauley to contribute to the offense. The linemates have accounted for six of Toronto's nine goals in the series.

Alexander Mogilny, who led Toronto with four goals in its first-round series against the Islanders, has watched his production drop off significantly, having yet to score against Ottawa. He had one wraparound chance denied by Lalime with 5:19 left in the third period.

Notes: Senators C Mike Fisher left during the first period with what the team described as a "lower body injury," and did not return. ... Leafs D Karel Pilar (thumb) missed his first game of the playoffs, allowing Nathan Dempsey to make his NHL playoff debut. ... Ottawa D Sami Salo returned to the lineup after leaving Game 4 with an upper body injury. ... Joseph played his 52nd playoff game as a Maple Leaf, tying Felix Potvin for third on the franchise list. ... According to Elias Sports Bureau, more than 80 percent (135 out of 168) of the teams that go up 3-2 in an NHL best-of-seven playoff series have gone on to win that series.