The Toronto Maple Leafs avoided a record-setting scoring drought -- but not a third consecutive loss and a damaging injury.
The Leafs ended a goal drought that extended more than eight periods when Francois Beauchemin scored early in the third period. But that wasn't enough to keep them from a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night.
The Leafs also lost captain Dion Phaneuf, who was helped to the locker room after getting tangled up with Ottawa's Peter Regin early in the second period.
"He's got a cut on his leg," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "It was deep enough that they wanted to take him to the hospital to determine the extent of the injury. That's the last I heard."
Toronto was shut out at Boston last Thursday and at home by the New York Rangers two nights later. They hadn't scored in 167 minutes, 39 seconds until Beauchemin's slap shot from the left point went through Nikolai Kulemin's screen and trickled between the legs of goalie Brian Elliott 5:15 into the third period. It was their longest drought since going 181:45 without a goal in December 1927.
The Leafs hadn't scored since Phil Kessel's breakaway goal at 17:36 of the third period in a 3-1 victory against Florida a week ago.
"You could see how tight we were," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said.
"We got into a little bit of a scoring slump, but in the third period, we began to come out of it a little bit."
Clarke MacArthur banged in a power-play rebound with 50.3 seconds left and the Leafs skating 6-on-4 after pulling Jean-Sebastien Giguere, but Toronto, which started its season 4-0-0, fell to 5-5-1 despite playing seven of its first 11 games at home.
"When we finally scored, we relaxed a little bit and you could see the difference," Wilson said. "We started having a number of scoring chances -- not that we weren't, but we started having a little more poise. We just have to build on it."
Elliott finished with 33 saves for the Senators, who were coming off a shutout loss of their own, having lost 4-0 at Boston on Saturday night. He was under siege in the third period, when Toronto outshot Ottawa 18-4.
"He was our best player, no question," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who played after undergoing treatment for a bad back.
The victory ended a five-game drought for the Senators against their provincial rival.
"It's a good hard-fought win," Elliott said.
Mike Fisher got Ottawa on the board at 17:06 of the opening period when he beat Giguere on a penalty shot, zipping a forehand shot into the net after being hauled down. It was the second penalty-shot goal of his career.
Ottawa broke open the game with a pair of second-period power-play goals.
Sergei Gonchar, the Senators' big free-agent signing this summer, scored his first goal for Ottawa at 7:33, 14 seconds after Luca Caputi went off for elbowing. He set up at the right point and blasted a feed from Erik Karlsson past Giguere with Fisher creating havoc in front of the net.
Karlsson made the Leafs pay for a needless roughing penalty by Colton Orr on a play that was the exact reverse of Gonchar's goal -- this time Gonchar slid a pass to the second-year defenseman, who ripped a blast from the left point that went through traffic and beat Giguere.
That proved to be the winner when the Leafs finally found the back of the net in the third period.
"It was a little closer than we wanted," Alfredsson said. "We'll take the two points and go home."
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