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Leafs win home opener in shootout vs. Sens

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- It wasn't pretty but Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle will take Saturday's 5-4 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators in their home opener.

The comeback win kept the Maple Leafs undefeated after the first three games of the season,

"We didn't play up to the level we're capable of, we were slopping in stretches and need to be tighter," Carlyle said. "Are we going to forget this game? No we're not. But we have played three games and have six points, what more do you want?"

Tyler Bozak and Mason Raymond scored in the shootout for the Leafs while the Senators were held scoreless in two attempts.

But Senators coach Paul MacLean found something to like about the game, the team's second in two nights as it opened the season on the road.

"The good thing is we got three of four points in two road games and showed we can score some goals," MacLean said.

Nazem Kadri, Mason Raymond, Joffrey Lupul and James Van Riemsdyk scored in regulation time for Toronto.

Jason Spezza, Jared Cowen, Kyle Turris and Cory Conacher scored in regulation time for the Senators, who had a two-goal lead in the second period. Turris also had two assists for Ottawa.

"Tonight I thought we were okay in stretches," said Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan. "There were times we took on some water in stretches defensively. We had opportunities; we made some plays, held onto the puck and created some cycles. But we have to do more off the cycle. I think we were relying too much on making plays in certain areas."

The Leafs went on a power play with 41.5 seconds to play in the overtime when Cowen was called for hooking but could not settle the issue until the shootout.

The Maple Leafs tied the game 4-4 at 2:52 of the third. Van Riemsdyk scored his second goal of the season from the left side of the crease on a pass from Phil Kessel.

The Senators scored twice within 15 seconds during the second period to take a 4-2 lead. Cowen put them ahead 3-2 with his first of the season at 10:41 with a 40-foot wrist shot. Spezza scored his first of the season at 10:56 on a snap shot that eluded goaltender James Reimer. Jonathan Bernier replaced Reimer, who stopped 17 of 21 shots, after the goal.

"You just try to make that first save to get the feel for the puck," Bernier said in his role as substitute.

"The one thing you noticed is that when he went in there weren't a whole lot of extra rebounds hanging around," Carlyle said. "He controlled the puck."

Craig Anderson stopped 38 of 42 shots in the Ottawa goal. Bernier stopped all 15 shots he faced after replacing Reimer.

The Leafs cut the lead to 4-3 on a power-play goal by Lupul at 19:43 of the second.

The Maple Leafs started the scoring to ignite their opening-game crowd at 4:21 of the first period. Raymond snapped home his second goal of the season from about 15 feet on a backhand feed from Dave Bolland. Troy Bodie circled behind the goal to start the play.

The Senators came back to score the next two goals to take the lead. Turris scored his first of the season on a 20-foot wrist shot 7:33 with Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch getting assists. Conacher made it 2-1, ramming home his first of the season at 10:27.

The Leafs tied the game 2-2 with a power-play goal by Kadri at 17:33 of the first, Kadri picked up his first goal of the season on a snap shot from close range after a pass from Raymond.

"It wasn't our best game," Raymond said. "But we battled. We've won three in a row but there's a ton of games to go."

NOTES: The Leafs will be without F Nikolai Kulemin for at least two weeks with a bone chip in his ankle after blocking a shot in practice Friday. F Spencer Abbott was called up from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League to take his spot. ... D Morgan Rielly, Toronto's first-round draft pick in 2012, made his NHL debut Saturday. ... Ottawa made two changes from the lineup that earned a season-opening 1-0 win at Buffalo on Friday with D Joe Corvo replacing D Eric Gryba and F Matt Kassian taking over from F Stephane DaCosta. ... The Senators continue their season-opening six-game trip when they play the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. ... The Leafs play their next game at home against the Colorado Avalanche.
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