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Leafs’ split squads sweep Senators

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OTTAWA—Joffrey Lupul already is a big fan of the new 3-on-3 format for overtime.

Lupul scored 55 seconds into overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators last night in a split-squad pre-season game.

The Leafs swept the night as they also defeated the Senators 4-1 in Toronto.

Lupul benefited from a bad giveaway by Erik Karlsson at centre ice as the Leafs took possession and went on to score the winner.

“[Overtime] was fun [Monday],” said Lupul.

“If you’re on the other side of that, it’s probably not so fun,” he conceded. “But there’s going to be a lot of chances and it’s going to be fun for fans to watch players’ skill come out on the odd man rushes.

“It’s going to be exciting for fans.”

While Karlsson was unhappy with the result, he realizes the open ice will create more opportunities and more chances for mistakes.

“This is how it’s going to go on 3-on-3,” he noted. “If the puck bounces different, we’re going to have a two-on-zero going the other way.

“No surprise there.

“It’s fun and it’s definitely going to end more games in overtime than in shootout,” Karlsson added.

Senators’ coach Dave Cameron wasn’t really fazed by the loss considering this was the Senators’ first pre-season game.

“It’s that sloppy hockey you have to go through early in the year until you get to the good hockey,” he reasoned.

“I liked the effort,” Cameron added. “I thought it was an honest effort.”

Lupul scored twice for the Leafs, with Dion Phaneuf and T.J. Brennan adding goals.

James Reimer allowed three goals on 32 shots.

Shane Prince, Bobby Ryan, and Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators.

Craig Anderson allowed two goals on 20 shots while rookie Matt O’Connor looked solid as he allowed two goals on 17 shots.

The Senators had the more veteran-laden lineup, but their youngsters were equally impressive benefiting from playing with more experienced linemates.

In Toronto, meanwhile, newcomers Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Nick Spaling wasted no time making a strong first impression on new Leafs’ coach Mike Babcock.

Parenteau scored twice and Spaling had a goal in the Leafs’ 4-1 over Ottawa’s other split squad.

“The guys were excited to make the first good impression, and I think it showed,” Parenteau said.

“I think I felt pretty comfortable out there tonight,” he added. “I think most of the team did.”

Bought out by the Montreal Canadiens and signed to a one-year, $1.5-million (U.S.) contract by the Leafs, Parenteau scored two power-play goals.

Babcock said Parenteau “was hungry and had the puck lots.”

Spaling, part of the trade that sent all-star Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins, had a strong showing by scoring a goal in the first and drawing a penalty in the second.

Michael Grabner, the speedy winger the Leafs acquired last week in a five-for-one trade with the N.Y. Islanders, assisted on Spaling’s goal.

“[New players] definitely they made their presence felt,” said top-line winger James van Riemsdyk.

Since every Leafs’ player is new to Babcock, even core players were under the microscope.

Goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced in making a strong start to what Babcock characterized as an open competition with James Reimer.

“I felt pretty good,” Bernier said.

“I stood my ground and with the way we played with our backcheck . . . I just have to focus on the shot,” he noted.

Andrew “the Hamburglar” Hammond, who led the Senators’ improbable run to the playoffs last season, stopped 16 of the 18 shots he faced before being replaced by Chris Driedger.

Mike Hoffman scored Ottawa’s lone goal.

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