Leafs have issues with discipline in opening period, Senators grab game's first lead. Staying out of the penalty box hasn't always been easy for the Leafs at times this season, and such was the case in the opening 20 minutes at the ACC: Toronto gave the Senators three man advantages in the first period, and although Ottawa failed to score on any of them, the Buds were forced to play in their own zone far more than they would want, and at the 14:02 mark of the frame, winger Bobby Ryan redirected a shot from blueliner Marc Methot to give the Sens a 1-0 lead.
Ottawa outshot Toronto 13-7 in the frame, and Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen had to be sharp to keep the lead at a single goal in that span. The Buds gave the New York Rangers four power plays in their previous game - a 5-2 loss to the Blueshirts Thursday - and giving up nearly that many in the first period alone is not something that will endear them to head coach Mike Babcock.
Video: OTT@TOR: Bozak roofs PPG to finish nice passing play
Bozak connects on power play to continue his hot streak on offence, tie game at a goal apiece. In the Leafs' three-game win streak that preceded the loss to the Rangers, they had at least one power play goal in each game (and four in total), but they failed to score with the extra man against the Blueshirts in two opportunities Thursday.
That said, Toronto did get a special teams goal in the middle frame Saturday, as centre Tyler Bozak scored a power play marker (and his 12th of the season) at 7:31 of the second period to even the score at 1-1. The goal was Bozak's sixth in his past 10 games, and his 11th point in that span - and, given that it was the only goal scored by either team in the second, it gave his team a clean slate heading into the final period of regulation time.
Video: OTT@TOR: Martin puts Leafs ahead with tip-in goal
Martin deflects a Kadri shot through Condon's legs to give Toronto first lead of the night. The Leafs outshot Ottawa in the second period by a 15-4 margin - thanks in part to a four-minute power play drawn by winger Zach Hyman - and the Senators needed goalie Mike Condon to be at his best to prevent Toronto from scoring again before the second intermission. However, the Buds kept at it in the third period, and they took their first lead of the game at the 7:00 mark when centre Nazem Kadri took the puck in Ottawa's zone, fired it toward the Sens' net, and winger Matt Martin deflected it through Condon's legs.
Martin's goal was his second in his past three games and his fourth of the season, and although it wasn't the prettiest goal of his career, it demonstrated why NHLers prefer to get the puck to the net even in low-percentage scoring shots - sometimes luck is on your side and it goes in anyway.
Sens make most of late Leafs penalty, get Hoffman goal to send contest to overtime. Toronto stayed out of the penalty box in the second period, but blueliner Martin Marincin - playing his first game after missing 17 due to injury - was called for a delay-of-game minor for shooting the puck over the glass at 17:13 of the third, and Ottawa received their fourth power play of the night.
That extra man - combined with an additional attacker after the Sens pulled Condon late in the game - proved to be too much for the Leafs' defence as they attempted to close out the game, and Sens winger Mike Hoffman beat Andersen between the legs for his 15th goal of the year and the game-tying goal with 1:11 left in the period. Both sides had additional great scoring chances before the final buzzer of regulation time, but in the end, the contest went to overtime - and then some.
After overtime near-misses, Leafs fall in shootout. The Leafs and Senators continued to trade chances in overtime, but both Andersen and Condon were focused and strong for their side, so the game was decided in the shootout. It took eight shooters - and a goal by Toronto winger Mitch Marner that had to be reviewed by the officials before it was ruled a good goal - but in the end, Ottawa's Tom Pyatt scored the game-winner on the final shot, and the Sens pulled out the win.
The Leafs' record in shootouts fell to 1-6, and although they gained a point in the standings that will help their pursuit of a post-season berth, turning things around in that department in the second half of the season is important. The playoff race often comes down to the final week of the year, and a single point can separate a playoff team from one that goes home at the end of the regular season. Too many shootout and/or overtime losses can come back to haunt any NHL team.