Game five goes to Toronto, once again Eddie Belfour shut the door and the Leafs found just enough offence to pick up a win. With Mats Sundin out of the line up, that scoring machine known as Tie Domi picked up the pace, gaining the first goal of the game on Ottawa in the third period. Domi was awarded the goal that went off the skate of Bryan Smolinski and into the Sens net. The goal was set up in the Toronto end actually, as Ottawa botched the job of keeping the puck in at the blue line, Domi taking a Robert Reichel pass into the Ottawa end, where after a few bounces it went in off of Smolinkski. Advantage Leafs.
The game featured the usual hard hitting collisions, as Leaf flew into Senator, or Senator into Leaf. Ottawa had their chances to score but once again sat frustrated as Eddie Belfour collected his third shut out of the series. Belfour turned aside 21 shots on the way to his win, Patrick Lalime only had 19 shots to face, as the Leafs focused more on their forecheck than their scoring attack.
Joe Niewendyk returned to action Friday night, scoring late in the third to salt away the win for Toronto, giving them the momentum going into game 6 in Ottawa on Sunday night. Ottawa did not put it’s speed to use Friday night, nor did they get in front of Belfour as they did two nights ago. Belfour had a clear eye on each and every shot directed at him tonight, as Toronto’s defenders did an excellent job of clearing out the front of the net. For the Leafs it was one of those games that can turn a series around for good, facing bleak prospects prior to the game with team Captain joining the injury parade, many didn’t expect much from the Buds Friday. The total team effort send a message to the Senators and to the Toronto fans, the Leafs have no intention of folding up under a little adversity.
The Senators are now faced with winning two games in a row to advance in the playoffs and winning two games in a row is asking quite a bit in this series that keeps everything close. The daunting task didn’t seem to intimidate Sens captain Daniel Alfreddsson, who stated that Ottawa will win both upcoming games and advance on in the Stanley Cup playoffs. A great display of bravado from the team leader, but unless his co-workers get their game back up a level or two, he may find that his words get thrown back in his face.
Edge of your seat hockey returns again Sunday night, Sens fans are hoping that Alfie is right and that there is still some hockey left for the Sens next Tuesday night as well.