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Stutzle scores twice, Senators open pre-season with 3-2 win over Maple Leafs

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg says he feels good after returning from two major knee surgeries. His play would seem to back up his words.
Ottawa Senators' Tim Stutzle (18) celebrates his second goal of the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second period pre-season NHL preseason hockey action in Ottawa, on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg says he feels good after returning from two major knee surgeries.

His play would seem to back up his words.

Forsberg made 35 saves in a tightly contested game as the Senators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 Sunday in the pre-season opener for both teams. It was Forsberg's first game action since suffering medial collateral ligament tears in both knees Feb. 11 in a 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

“I’m happy to be back and I feel good. There was a lot of scrambling the first two periods trying to find my game again," Forsberg said. "It took a period to calm down a little bit but it felt better the longer it went." 

“To be honest, from day one I was just happy that it was what it was," Forsberg said of the knee injuries. "I kind of felt the whole time that it wasn’t hard because it could have been a lot worse, so I’ve tried to stay positive and I’ve worked towards this day. It’s tough because a lot of the time you’re here by yourself and not with your team, so that’s probably the toughest part.”

Tim Stutzle scored twice and Brady Tkachuk had the other goal for the Senators. Jake Sanderson chipped in two assists.

William Lagesson and Alex Steeves scored for Toronto. Keith Petruzzelli made 25 saves on 28 shots through two periods, while Dennis Hildeby turned aside all four shots he faced in the third.

The first two periods were almost mirror opposites of each other. The Senators had a 24-7 shot advantage and 2-0 lead after the first period. The Leafs outshot the Senators 17-4 in the second period and tied the game 2-2 before a late power-play goal gave the Senators a 3-2 lead after two periods.

“We just stayed with it and we had an opportunity to take a breath between periods and realize where we were going wrong,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said.

“I thought we got off to an excellent start, we had a good penalty kill early and a good power play got some momentum for us, then we took a couple of penalties in a row and their best players got rolling.”

Tkachuk opened the scoring for Ottawa with a power-play goal almost halfway through the first period. Tkachuk collected a rebound at the side of the net and tucked it past Petruzzelli for a 1-0 lead.

Stutzle increased that lead to 2-0 with a snap shot from the top of the circle at 18:01.

Lagesson beat Forsberg high to the stick at 9:32 of the second before Steeves scored from the slot on a power play at 17:50 to tie the game.

Stutzle scored his second of the game, this one on the power play, just 50 seconds later with a quick shot off the post and in past Petruzzelli.

“We had probably two good periods. The second period, they won the territorial battle, we turned too many pucks over, our line changes weren’t good and that’s something we discussed in between periods,” Senators assistant coach Jack Capuano said.

“Short training camp and as we get going we’ll emphasis more the little things that we need to.

The Senators finished 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Maple Leafs were 1-for-6.


Senators forward Shane Pinto remains out of camp as he and the Senators have yet to come to agreement on a new contract for the unrestricted free agent…Senators forward Josh Norris didn’t dress as he has worn a yellow non-contact jersey since camp opened.


The two teams meet again Monday night in Toronto on the back half of a home-and-home. Following that, the Senators next play Wednesday in Montreal against the Canadiens while the Maple Leafs host the Buffalo Sabres that same night. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2023.

Darren Desaulniers, The Canadian Press