Leafs' James Reimer blanks Senators for second straight shutout

OTTAWA -- James Reimer couldn't stop smiling -- and who could blame him?

After watching Jonas Gustavsson start 11 of 12 games in goal for Toronto in January, Reimer made 49 saves for his second straight shutout as the Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators 5-0 on Saturday night.

The 23-year-old acknowledged he hadn't been feeling overly confident about his game following his return from a head injury, but said he's determined to regain the form that made him Toronto's No. 1 goaltender last season.

"I really wanted to step it up a bit and the only way I know how is to work hard and do what I think is right and so I went home and got in a little better shape (during the All-Star break)," Reimer said. "I never could have guessed that it would come with back-to-back shutouts. That's a lot of fun to experience."

Reimer made 25 saves on Wednesday in a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Leafs also had a solid outing from Phil Kessel, who had a three-point night, including the winning goal.

Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak, Luke Schenn and Cody Franson also scored for the Leafs.

Ottawa's Craig Anderson, making his 17th straight start and 50th appearance, had little help from his teammates as he faced 40 shots.

With their sixth straight loss, the Senators are on their longest winless streak since an 0-9-2 stretch last season.

The Senators remain in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but the Leafs are just one point back in eighth and Washington three back in ninth. Both teams have games in hand on Ottawa.

"Right now we're in a down point and it's just a matter of how quick we can turn this thing around," said Senators forward Jason Spezza. "We've still got ourselves in the cluster of teams in the playoffs so it's no time to quit or get real down on ourselves."

The Senators have made a habit of rallying to win this season, but the hole was too deep as they entered the third period trailing 3-0.

Any hope quickly faded as Schenn made it 4-0 early in the period and Franson's power-play goal completely deflated Ottawa.

Playing their second game in as many nights, the Senators got into trouble early as the Leafs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. The Senators had two early power-play opportunities, but couldn't connect on either.

"I thought those penalty kills were really big for our team," Phaneuf said.

The Leafs have not allowed a power-play goal in their last 14 games.

Midway through the period, Kessel picked up his own rebound and beat Anderson through the legs to open the scoring.

Toronto made it 2-0 late in the period with the man advantage as Kessel found an open Phaneuf, who beat Anderson with a quick wrister.

"Phil's got great vision," Phaneuf said. "He's got great hands and he showed it there with that pass through the seam. He put it right on my tape."

Despite outshooting the Leafs 21-9 in the second, Ottawa could not find a way to beat Reimer.

Bozak gave the Leafs a commanding 3-0 lead with his ninth of the season as he broke in around the defense and lifted a backhander over a sprawled Anderson.

Phaneuf said the atmosphere in the arena was energizing and almost felt like a home game.

"Any time we come here the fans are great supporting us," he said. "The fans are so loud and it's a great atmosphere to be a part of. It had a playoff-type atmosphere."

Game notes
The Senators were without C Peter Regin (shoulder, out for season), C Jesse Winchester (concussion, indefinitely). D Brian Lee (lower-body injury, day-to-day). ... D Mike Komisarek, LW Darryl Boyce and LW Jay Rosehill were healthy scratches for Toronto.