TORONTO — Mitch Marner scored on a power play at 3:54 of overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Saturday.
Jason Spezza scored in regulation for Toronto (28-17-7), which got 24 saves from Michael Hutchinson.
Mark Borowiecki scored for Ottawa (18-24-10). Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots.
After the Leafs killed off a penalty to Tyson Barrie in the extra period that saw Thomas Chabot hit the post behind Hutchinson, Toronto got a power play of its own when Mike Reilly went off for interference, and Marner blasted his 14th on a one-timer off a feed from William Nylander.
Tied 1-1 through 40 minutes, Anderson robbed the red-hot Nylander, who entered with goals in five straight contests, 36 seconds into the third period on a power play when he reached back with his glove to deny the winger from the lip of the crease.
The lightning-quick Anthony Duclair then had an opportunity at the other end that Hutchinson turned aside.
Anderson then denied both Juston Holl and Auston Matthews on chances in close as Toronto started to come in waves before John Tavares hit the post and Alexander Kerfoot was stopped off the rush.
Zach Hyman then saw the puck bounce over his stick in the dying seconds of regulation with Anderson way out of position.
After the Leafs had a couple of good looks in front of Anderson early in the second, Borowiecki scored his seventh at 6:08 on a shot through traffic to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead.
Hutchinson, who got the start in place of No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen with Toronto playing five times in eight nights, was forced to make big saves on Chris Tierney, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brady Tkachuk in quick succession before Spezza struck against his former team on the power play.
The 36-year-old took a feed from rookie defenceman Rasmus Sandin and blasted a slapshot upstairs, shortside on Andersen for his eighth goal in 40 games — and first on this side of the Battle of Ontario — to match his total from the last two seasons with Dallas.
Spezza, who was selected second overall by Ottawa at the 2001 NHL draft and played parts of 11 seasons in the nation’s capital, suited up against the Senators in blue and white for the first time after former Toronto head coach Mike Babcock scratched him in the clubs’ first meeting on opening night.
The Leafs picked up road wins in Nashville and Dallas earlier this week following an ugly 1-3-2 stretch heading into their bye week and the all-star break that saw them tumble out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Coming off Friday’s 5-3 home loss against Washington, the rebuilding Senators entered with points in three of their last four (2-1-1) after dropping nine straight (0-5-4) between Dec. 29 and Jan 16.
Hutchinson came in having won his last three starts, but also found himself on the losing end of his two previous decisions in relief Jan. 6 against Edmonton and Jan. 12 at Florida.
Toronto had Saturday’s first chance less than an minute in when Anderson stopped Nylander on a partial breakaway.
Ottawa pushed back with a couple of opportunities, including a Duclair effort that just went wide as he was being hassled by a defender.
Spezza nearly scored on an end-to-end rush later in the period that harkened back to his dominant days with the Senators, but Anderson was there to deny his old teammate.
Toronto scratched winger Kasperi Kapanen — the move wasn’t injury-related and he watched from the Scotiabank Arena press box — with Dmytro Timashov taking his place in the lineup. Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was expected to update Kapanen’s status at his post-game press conference.
Ottawa has four players on its roster that suited up for Toronto last season in defencemen Ron Hainsey and Nikita Zaitsev, and forwards Connor Brown and Tyler Ennis. Senators rookie head coach D.J. Smith, meanwhile, was an assistant under Babcock from 2015 to 2019 before getting hired in May.
Leafs blue-liner and Ottawa-native Cody Ceci, who was acquired in the six-player trade that included Zaitsev and Brown on July 1, played for the second time against his hometown club.
Toronto defenceman Travis Dermott (illness) didn’t dress. Martin Marincin took his spot alongside Tyson Barrie. … The teams play twice more this season in Ottawa — Feb. 15 and March 28. … The Leafs host Florida on Monday, while Ottawa welcomes Anaheim the following night.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published February 1, 2020.
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press