Nick Foligno took advantage of his first opportunity to show the Ottawa Senators he's ready to assume more of an offensive role this season.
The 22-year-old winger raced around Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and buried a nice wrist shot in Tuesday's pre-season opener, helping the Senators to a 5-0 win over division-rival Toronto.
It was a promising start to the exhibition campaign for Foligno, who is looking to rebound from a season that was hindered by a knee injury. Entering his fourth season as a pro, Foligno is hoping to take on more of a role with the Senators and is one of the players in the running for the vacant spot on the team's second line.
He was one of the few regular NHLers who dressed on a night where both teams gave several of their prospects a chance to play. Both the Leafs and Senators have busy pre-season schedules and will face one another again Wednesday at Air Canada Centre.
Jesse Winchester, Corey Locke, Chris Neil and Chris Kelly had the other goals for Ottawa.
Robin Lehner also stood out for the Sens, stopping all 24 shots he faced while playing the entire game as counterpart Mike Brodeur sat out with food poisoning. The 19-year-old spent last season with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Jonas Gustavsson and Jussi Rynnas split the goaltending duties for Toronto.
Winchester opened the scoring at 5:59 of the first period, taking advantage of some open space in front of the Toronto goal to beat Gustavsson through the legs. Foligno made his move less than four minutes later when he raced around Phaneuf and roofed the puck to quickly make it 2-0.
A sellout crowd was attending the game for free through a promotion, but that didn't keep the fans from booing.
Some familiar problems were on display for the Leafs. Dead last in the NHL on the power play a year ago, Toronto failed to convert on eight chances -- including two lengthy 5-on-3s -- as coach Ron Wilson continually sent out his top line of Nazem Kadri, Kris Versteeg and Colby Armstrong with Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle.
The Leafs coach had said earlier in the day that Kadri would have to put up some points to make the NHL team out of training camp, but it wouldn't happen on this night.
Instead, the Senators were the only ones finding the scoresheet.
Locke, a career minor-leaguer, made it 3-0 late in the second period after Rynnas had been sent in. Neil and Kelly added goals in the third period.
Notes: Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Kovalev, Milan Michalek, Chris Phillips and Pascal Leclaire didn't make the trip from Ottawa ... Clarke MacArthur was the only Leafs off-season acquisition to sit out ... The game featured three fights ... The crowd sang the national anthem ... Coca Cola presented a $100,000 cheque to the MLSE Team-Up Foundation during the game.
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