TORONTO (AP) -Shutout goaltending by Vesa Toskala, top-notch play by reunited defensemen Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle and a pair of goals from an underachieving power-play unit helped the Maple Leafs post their most significant victory of the season.
"We just beat what is probably the best team in the league," said Toskala, who posted his first shutout as a Leaf and first since March 16, against Columbus, when he was with San Jose. "Hopefully we get a confidence boost from this win because we've been going up and down."
Darcy Tucker, Jiri Tlustly and Mats Sundin scored for Toronto, which inched back to .500. Sundin's goal was his 533rd, tying him with Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Mahovlich for 27th place on the all-time list.
McCabe was named first star of the game.
"I think that was the best this team has played all year," said McCabe. "We knew we had to bring our best against the hottest team in hockey.
Said Sundin: "Bryan McCabe was a horse out there."
The Senators lost for only the third time in their 18 games. Ottawa goalie Martin Gerber stopped 15 shots and fell to 12-2.
This was a close-checking yawner until the sixth minute of the second period, when Alex Steen had a shot clang off an Ottawa post. The Senators broke back the other way on a 3-on-1 rush only to have Toskala make a huge save.
"Toskala didn't have to make a lot of saves but he made a few that kept it scoreless early," Senators defenseman Wade Redden said. "We've just got to have a little more excitement. It seemed like that game kind of lulled us a bit. We've got to have a lot more energy."
Neither team could do anything on the power play - Ottawa was 0-for-4 and Toronto was 0-2 - until Tucker connected with a man advantage with 45 seconds left in the second.
Gerber was on his knees beyond the top of his crease after stopping a McCabe blast when Tucker slipped the rebound into the open net. It was only the second goal of the season for Tucker, who hadn't scored since Oct. 13 and not since recovering from a knee injury that took him out of seven games.
The Leafs scored another power-play goal after Wade Redden was sent off for interference at 6:03 of the third. Sundin got his 10th by slapping a shot from the top of the circle to the right of Gerber. The puck found a small gap between the goalie's right leg and the post.
"They played well defensively," Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson said. "Special teams play was the difference. They scored two power-play goals to win them the game."
Tlusty, who hadn't scored in nine games since getting two in his NHL debut in Pittsburgh on Oct. 25, made it 3-0 with 4:05 left in the game. Gerber dove expecting Tlusty to try to put in a rebound, but the 19-year-old Czech fooled him by circling behind the net and emerging on the other side for an easy wrist shot into the open goal.
Notes: Sundin won the majority of the faceoffs he took. ... The announced crowd of 19,596 was a season high although there were hundreds of empty seats as season ticket subscribers didn't bother to use them or give them away. ... John Pohl, who'd sat out the Leafs' previous four games, replaced Chad Kilger, who hurt a leg in practice Friday. ... Toronto plays at home against Boston on Tuesday and is at Dallas on Friday and at Phoenix on Saturday. ... The Senators are at Montreal on Monday and at Buffalo on Wednesday.
|PPG - Darcy Tucker (2) ASST: Bryan McCabe (5), Tomas Kaberle (9)|
1 - 0 TOR
|PPG - Mats Sundin (10) ASST: Bryan McCabe (6), Tomas Kaberle (10)|
2 - 0 TOR
|Jiri Tlusty (3) ASST: Mark Bell (2), Nik Antropov (10)|
3 - 0 TOR
|Power Play %||16.8%||15.9%|
|% on Road||18.2%||11.0%|
|% at Home||15.5%||20.6%|
|Andrej Meszaros Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Andy Wozniewski Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Alexei Ponikarovsky Tripping against Chris Neil|
|Mike Fisher Interference against Matt Stajan|
|Darcy Tucker Interference against Dean McAmmond|
|Hal Gill Holding against Shean Donovan|
|Luke Richardson Holding against Matt Stajan|
|Wade Redden Interference against Nik Antropov|
|Bryan McCabe Roughing against Randy Robitaille|
|Randy Robitaille Roughing against Bryan McCabe|