The dichotomy of media debate heading into Tuesday’s Battle of Ontario was certainly an interesting one.
In Toronto, the talk of the town focused on who would be the one stopping goals.
In the nation’s capital, it was a matter of who would be the one scoring them.
As it turned out, it was the Ottawa Senators finding just enough of an attack to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 at the Air Canada Centre.
The Sens (1-1-0) snapped a three-game skid on the Leafs home ice in the process, thanks to two second period goals that came less than a minute apart.
Toronto (0-2-1) pushed hard late and had a few quality chances to tie the game in the final minute, but has now suffered two straight losses.
Matt Stajan’s third goal of the campaign cut the Senators’ 2-0 lead in half at 5:36 of the third period, but that stood as the lone mark for the Leafs.
Toronto showed some of its new found offensive creativity on the play, as Thomas Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin were able to swing the puck around the blue-line and pick out Stajan with a well-timed, back door pass.
Minutes later, Mike Komisarek had the home fans jumping after a blast from the point rang out off the post with under 11 minutes remaining.
Leafs head coach Ron Wilson was less than impressed with his team’s efforts.
“We’ve got to figure out whether it’s line combinations, whether it’s calling some of the guys up from the minors who provided the spark in the preseason,” Wilson told reporters following the game.
“There are a few guys who made the team based on last year, not on what they did in training camp, and I need to find the way to light the fire under a few guys’ rear ends here.”
An official review into a goal at 6:45 of the second by Ottawa fourth-liner Shean Donovan that he appeared to knock in with a high stick was allowed to stand, making it 1-0 for the visitors.
The unassisted tally was Donovan’s first goal of the year in his first game dressed.
Michalek was unfit to take the shot himself, setting up a Swede versus Swede showdown.
Daniel Alfredsson faked a wrist shot, then dragged the puck to his backhand and flipped it over the top of a down-and-out Gustavsson.
The goal was Alfredsson’s second in two games.
Leafs rookie Viktor Stalberg left the game in the second frame and did not return after a hard check.
Despite the added attention of what is already being called a goaltending controversy, rookie Jonas Gustavsson was solid in his first game as the starting Leafs netminder, stopping 26 of 28 shots, with two pivotal saves coming late in the third to keep his team in the game.
Pascal Leclaire turned aside 26 of 27 shots at the other end of the rink.