Just 48 hours after a wild 10-3 victory in the NHL's Western Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs shifted gears and found a way to win in the defensive-minded Eastern Conference.
Kris King scored shorthanded early in the third period to lead the Maple Leafs to a 2-1 win Saturday night over the Ottawa Senators, only Toronto's second victory against an Eastern Conference opponent this season.
Steve Thomas also scored for the Maple Leafs, 9-6-2 against the league, but only 2-5-1 against the East.
"We haven't had much success against the East," said goalie Curtis Joseph, the game's first star. "We've had to adapt our game. We're coming back into our zone more and playing stronger between the (faceoff) dots."
Joseph sparkled during a Senators power play in the first period. He made four pad saves in less than a minute on point-blank scoring chances two by Alexei Yashin, one by Andreas Dackell and one by Shawn McEachern.
"I guess when you reflect back on the game, that was the key time," said Joseph, who finished with 27 saves.
"Absolutely," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said when asked whether Joseph's first-period saves set the tone. "They had most of their chances in that period on that particular shift."
The Senators, who have only four goals in their last three games, never really threatened again until a late goal in the third by Magnus Arvedson.
"That's not the guy you want to see if you're not scoring many goals," said Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden, referring to Joseph.
"We had lots of shots. We just didn't get to any rebounds. That's how you score on him, you get to the second and third shots."
King's second goal of the season made it 2-0 early in the third. While killing a penalty, the veteran forward skated down on a 2-on-1 and beat Rhodes with a backhander to the short side.
"The puck was rolling just as I was about to shoot," King said. "I guess it just handcuffed (Rhodes)."
Arvedson spoiled Joseph's shutout bid with 4:09 left in the third, firing a long slap shot from the point past a screened Joseph to the right top corner.
Toronto opened the scoring early in the second on a weird play. Thomas blindly threw the puck out in front from the corner, hitting Rhodes inside the arm and the puck bounced into the net. Thomas got credit for his seventh goal.
The Maple Leafs outshot Ottawa 10-3 in the second period.
"They took it to us then," Redden said. "They kind of wore us down in our end for the whole period, it seemed like."
Rhodes, a former Maple Leaf, made 27 saves for the Senators (6-6-2), who lost for only the second time on the road this season.
The win was Toronto's first against Ottawa since Dec. 5, 1995 a strtch of five games (0-4-1). Both clubs meet again Nov. 28 at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Maple Leafs defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev will be lost for four to six weeks with a broken thumb.
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed