OTTAWA — The Toronto Maple Leafs can’t seem to solve the last-place Ottawa Senators.
The Leafs lost 4-2 to Ottawa on Saturday night, Toronto’s second loss in the nation’s capital in two weeks.
The Canadian Tire Centre game operations staff appeared to troll Toronto in the final minute, playing the Leafs’ goal song — “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates — as the Senators put the final touches on a victory.
Senators goalie Craig Anderson was superb, making 42 saves.
With the loss, the Leafs squandered an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth and are now 3-5-2 in their past 10 games.
Anthony Duclair, with two goals, Magnus Paajarvi and Cody Ceci scored for the Senators (28-44-6).
Auston Matthews and Connor Brown scored for the Leafs (45-26-7). Garret Sparks stopped 18 shots.
The Canadian Tire Centre, as usual, was filled with a large contingent of Toronto fans. They didn’t have much to cheer about until the third period — and only for a short time.
Trailing 2-0, Toronto was finally able to get on the board with a power-play goal early in the third as Matthews beat Anderson high glove side.
Just 27 seconds later, the Leafs tied the game as the Senators had a bad turnover in their own end, which resulted in an odd-man rush and Brown picking the top corner to beat Anderson.
The Senators managed to respond quickly, though, and regained the lead less than two minutes later as Ceci tucked a shot just under the crossbar.
Anderson made a huge save on Mitch Marner late in the period to preserve the third and Duclair added insurance with an empty-net goal.
Ottawa opened the scoring at the five-minute mark of the second as Duclair took a pass from Oscar Lindberg and rifled a shot past Sparks.
Despite being outplayed at times, the Senators managed to take a 2-0 lead late in the period.
Duclair sent a pass to Paajarvi in the slot. He did a quick spin, and beat Sparks through the legs. Paajarvi has five goals against the Leafs this season.
The Senators were fortunate to escape the first period with the game scoreless as the Leafs outshot Ottawa 18-7.
NOTES: Forward Zack Smith returned to the Senators lineup after missing three games with a back injury. Ottawa was without defenceman Mark Borowiecki as he’s dealing with an upper body injury. Winger Mikkel Boedker was a healthy scratch for the Senators. … Defenceman Travis Dermott returned to the Toronto lineup after missing 14 games with a shoulder injury. … Winger Patrick Marleau moved into fifth all-time in games played at 1,653, overtaking Mark Recchi.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press