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 NHL & Minor Leagues
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11.05.2002 11:54
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Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2
Ottawa leads series 3-2

Sens celebrate game-winning goal

Controversial goal gives Sens 3-2 series lead

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

Alfredsson broke a tie with 2:01 left, lifting the Ottawa Senators to a 4-2 victory Friday night. Radek Bonk added an empty-net goal with 34.2 seconds left.

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 and one in which the animosity seems to increase after every game.

Friday, it was the Leafs who were livid after Alfredsson's hit from behind knocked out Tucker, and led to the game-winner by the Ottawa captain.

"I'm quite frankly full of anger," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said.

Alfredsson forced a turnover in the Toronto zone when he hit Tucker from behind, sending Tucker crashing heavily into the boards. Tucker lay writhing in pain on the ice, favoring his shoulder. No penalty was called.

"I wasn't trying to finish him at all. I was just trying to make sure the puck got to the point," Alfredsson said after the game. "I didn't see anything wrong. I don't know if he turned. But I didn't see anything wrong with it."

While Tucker was down, 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.

"He's not very good," Quinn said. "They're still evaluating him now."

Tucker did not speak to the media, and his status for Game 6 is questionable.

The game's officiating supervisor, Dave Newell, said: "Neither of them (the referees) thought it was a penalty. He (Tucker) didn't get hit on the numbers, he got hit on the shoulder and spun into the boards."

While Quinn refused to categorize the hit, fearing another $30,000 fine he received earlier this postseason for criticizing officials, Maple Leafs president Ken Dryden said: "It's totally unfair."

Toronto's Alyn McCauley, who had a goal and an assist, had difficulty keeping his anger in check.

"Immediately, you'd like to go out and break somebody's leg, I think," McCauley said. "But that's not going to do any good, so we have to go out and try to win Game 6 in Ottawa. That's the best thing we can do for Darcy and for ourselves."

After the goal was allowed to stand, the game was delayed for five minutes after the sold-out -- and booing -- Air Canada Centre crowd littered the ice with cups and paper.

Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden said it was a tough call for the officials to make.

"Both guys are going hard. I hate to see that kind of stuff happen, someone going in awkwardly. But that's the way it is, I guess," Redden said. "Hopefully, Darcy's all right."

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 about Alfredsson's eventual game-winning goal in Game 3 and accused Ottawa's Benoit Brunet of interfering with Joseph on the play.

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.

Redden and Marian Hossa also scored for the Senators.

McCauley and Gary Roberts 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.

After Redden and Roberts exchanged first-period goals, Hossa regained the Senators' lead seven minutes into the second period. Ending a five-game goal drought, Hossa's bad-angle shot deflected off Toronto defender Tomas Kaberle's stick and in over Joseph, who was anticipating a pass into the middle.

McCauley tied it with 7:26 left, poking in a loose puck after Ottawa goalie Patrick Lalime made a diving save to stop Roberts.

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.


09/05/2002 »»

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