Leafs win third straight putting themselves back into third place in the Atlantic Division

Harley Kock
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Saturday, February 1, 2020

Final Score, Toronto Maple Leafs 2 - Ottawa Senators 1

Toronto, ON - Michael Hutchinson got the start and stopped 24 shots. Kasperi Kapanen was benched before the game and was watching from the rafters. This led to trade rumours galore throughout the contest. Toronto needed overtime but a powerplay goal sealed the 2-1 victory. Both Leaf tally's came with the extra skater. Craig Anderson stopped 34 in the loss for the Senators.


The start of the first was scary as John Tavares left the game but was back on the ice before the end of the period. The former Leaf Nikita Zaitsev left as well after blocking a shot and didn't return until the second.


A miscue nine minutes in had the Leafs shorthanded. Toronto was called for to many men and went to the penalty kill. A fantastic job not letting much get toward Hutchinson. The Leafs coming into tonight had four straight games without allowing a powerplay goal against. 


Another penalty kill late in the frame. Rasmus Sandin tripped Colin White, so Toronto went shorthanded with 2:29 left in the first period. Once again the Senators were kept out of the zone for most of the kill.


Despite the two power play opportunities Ottawa was outshot 9-7 in the first. It was scoreless after 20 but the Leafs were dominating the puck with six takeaways to just two for the Sens.


The start of the second was all Toronto but it was Ottawa who struck first. Leafs outshot the Senators five to one but their second of the period found the mesh. A point shot from Mark Borowiecki squeaked through Hutchinson to break the scoreless tie. The Leafs netminder was screened and had no idea where the puck was until it crossed the line.


The Leafs had a great chance to tie it up after Sandin drew a hook from Drake Batherson. Jason Spezza in his first game as a Leafs against the team he started with in the NHL. He shot a rocket from the right circle that blew by Anderson’s glove to tie the game at one. Spezza’s eighth goal of the season.


The Senators really used the goal against to find some life. They were pressing for the rest of the period. 


But it was the Leafs with the best chance. William Nylander on a five game goal streak had a chance to make it six. Right in the slot he got a chance at Anderson but was turned away.


With 20 seconds left Cody Ceci drew a high stick on Chris Tierney. Nylander got another great chance. Taking a pass from Tyson Barrie at the side of the net he went right in front but again was stopped by Anderson.


The second ended tied at one. Leafs had a slight lead in shots, 19-18. It was the blocks that made the attempts look closer than they were, the Senators sacrificed the body 14 times to just five by the blue and white.


Toronto still had the extra man to start the third. Nylander another great chance. This time Mitch Marner found him out front and Nylander put it between his legs but was stopped by Anderson’s glove. That was their one great chance as the powerplay expired.


With just over four minutes left in the game Tavares almost broke the tie. Himself alongside Nylander and Alexander Kerfoot were controlling the puck when their line got a chance. Tavares went right in on Anderson but put it off the bar shortside.


Nothing to close the third as we went to three on three overtime tied at one. The Leafs had 15 shots in the third but couldn’t beat Anderson. With the point Toronto moved into third in the Atlantic division.


Barrie got an interference call just one minute into OT. Ottawa went to a four on three powerplay. Jean-Gabriel Pageau hit the bar after beating Hutchinson. Toronto killed the penalty and right after Marner drew an interference call of his own against Mike Reilly.


It was Marner who ended the game. After a few back-and-forth passess with Nylander he one-timed the puck from just below the blueline to take the 2-1 victory in overtime.


Next up, Monday at home versus the Florida Panthers who are right behind the Leafs in the Atlantic Division.