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Reimer, Maple Leafs outlast Senators 4-3 in shootout

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA - For Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer, the number of pucks he sees come his way is of little consequence.

The only digits he's concerned about are the two points awarded for a victory.

"My job is to stop them, whether it's 10 shots or 100 shots," Reimer said Saturday night at Canadian Tire Center. "It's our job (as goalies) to get in front of it and give the team a chance. That's it. We don't really care how many shots we're giving up. Our job is just to stop the puck from going in the net."

Reimer did just that most of the night, making 48 saves through three periods and overtime, then stoning Senators center Jason Spezza and winger Milan Michalek in the shootout as the Leafs outlasted Ottawa 4-3 in front of 19,559 rowdy fans.

The win put the Leafs eight points ahead of the Senators in the race for the Eastern Conference's final wildcard spot and ended Toronto's winless road skid at seven games.

"We have to take the positives out of that game and find a way to build on them," said Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who scored on one of his nine shots with 9:30 left in the third to set the stage for overtime and then the shootout.

The positive for the Senators is that they salvaged a point after entering the third period trailing 3-1. The negatives were their inability to make up any ground on the Leafs as their home ice losing streak stretched to five games.

Leafs wingers James van Riemsdyk and Mason Raymond scored the shootout goals, while van Riemskyk, winger Phil Kessel and defenseman Jake Gardiner scored for Toronto in regulation.

In the shootout, van Riemsdyk beat Senators goalie Craig Anderson with a backhand, but was later reluctant to talk about the move.

"I don't like to give those (secrets) away," he said. "I like to keep those close to the chest. There are a couple of different things I maybe think about trying when I'm skating in. Depending on what I see on the goalie, I'll give one of them a shot."

Anderson, who had 28 saves in regulation time, has yet to make a save in shootouts this season. He's been scored on all four shots he has faced in the tie-breaking procedure.

Senators shooters have not helped the cause. They have not scored a single shootout goal in 10 tries.

"We did a lot of good things," said Spezza. "Even when we got behind, we talked about it between the second and third, we knew that was one of our most important periods of the season. It's a big battle-back game. We couldn't afford to drop two points."

The battle back started with Condra's third goal of the season at 2:23 of the final period. He took a setup from left winger Colin Greening and fired a shot from the slot that beat Reimer high on the glove side.

The game was tied 1-1 when the Leafs scored the first of two controversial goals early in the second. Kessel's 16th of the season was off a 2-on-1 break made possible by what those on the home bench thought should have been a tripping call against Leafs center Nazem Kadri on Senators center Zack Smith, just inside the Toronto blue line.

"The guy with the orange arm bands didn't put up his arm up, so it's not a penalty," Senators coach Paul MacLean said, clearly keeping his true thoughts suppressed. "It's a good defensive play."

Gardiner's goal a little more than eight minutes later was scored with van Riemsdyk inside the Senators' net. However, the referees ruled he was pushed there by Senators defenseman Marc Methot.

The first-period goals exchanged by van Riemsdyk at the 1:37 mark and MacArthur at 9:44 both were scored with their teams on the power play.

"They scored two power play goals we should have had coverage on, but we won the hockey game, we found a way to win," said Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. "That's the most important thing.

"We've had pretty down times here the last two games, so no matter how you win, you take the two points and move on."

NOTES: Leafs G Jonathan Bernier was coming off a 48-save win, but coach Randy Carlyle went with G James Reimer. Entering the game, Reimer had a 6-0-0 career record in Ottawa and never gave up more than two goals at the Canadian Tire Centre. ... Senators LW Matt Kassian dressed for the first time in 11 games, as coach Paul MacLean wanted to add some toughness for the battle between provincial rivals. To make room for Kassian, MacLean made LW Cory Conacher a healthy scratch for the first time this season. ... Leafs LW Joffrey Lupul, who is expected to be the first of Toronto's wounded to return from the injured list, missed his sixth game with a groin injury. ... Senators LW Clarke MacArthur's goal against his former team was his ninth of the season, making him the third-leading scorer in Ottawa. MacArthur went the first 11 games of the campaign without a goal.
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