OTTAWA – Colin Greening felt a little conflicted in what should have been a moment for celebration.
Greening batted in a puck mid-air with 24 seconds remaining to give the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
The goal is a career-highlight for Greening, who just a week ago was a healthy scratch against the Leafs, but scoring on a good friend is tough.
Greening and Leafs netminder Ben Scrivens were teammates and roommates at Cornell University and remain close.
“Being able to score on Ben is one of those weird situations,” said Greening. “You always want him to do well, but not too well, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
“He played well over there and deserves a lot of accolades for his play of late.”
Scrivens was clearly aggravated by the result and struggled to offer Greening any accolades.
“It’s frustrating, he’s a good player, but you want to play a few of those better,” said Scrivens. “Definitely not happy for him right now.”
Despite the loss Scrivens was looking to catch up with Greening before he left Scotiabank Place.
The goal came as a result of Ottawa winning the faceoff in Toronto’s end, which left Jay McClement, who was on the ice for the play, shaking his head.
“We didn’t get the job done,” said McClement. “That’s a game we’ve got to get a point out of.”
Mika Zibanejad and Erik Condra also scored for the Senators (11-6-2), who got 26 saves from Ben Bishop. The win extends Ottawa’s season-high four-game winning streak.
Considering the Senators have put the streak together without Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson or Milan Michalek in the lineup has surprised more than a few.
“It feels great,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “To be able to put a streak together like this. We had a tough game in Toronto last week and since then we’ve been playing pretty good. We’ve had guys step up.”
The trio of Greening, Zibanejad and Condra combined for seven points and earned rave reviews from coach Paul MacLean for their efforts.
“They had a big night,” said MacLean. “Offensively they were the best line so we tried to give them every chance.”
Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur scored for Toronto (11-7-0). Scrivens, who made his seventh straight start, stopped 32 shots.
Trailing 2-1 the Leafs tied the game on a power-play goal at the seven-minute mark of the third period. With bodies sprawled in front of Bishop, MacArthur managed to find the puck and shove it in.
The Senators took a 2-1 lead with 41 seconds remaining in the second period on Condra’s third of the season. The play was reviewed after Scrivens had little chance as Condra, who was pushed by Korbinian Holzer, fell into the Leafs netminder.
“What I think is kind of impartial,” said Scrivens. “The ref explained it to me and I may not agree with it, but I can sure respect what the referee decides.”
The sold-out crowd of 19,499 had plenty to cheer about in the second as both teams took advantage of numerous turnovers and odd-man rushes. With the crowd splitting allegiances Scotiabank Place was the loudest it’s been this season.
“I thought it was very entertaining,” said MacLean. “The second period went up and down the rink and the only people yelling for whistles was the coaches.”
Players enjoyed the atmosphere and said it was hard not to feed off the energy of the crowd.
“It’s a special atmosphere,” said Alfredsson. “It’s nice to have that even though we have a lot of games, now these ones stand out a bit more.”
Derek Grant missed a wide-open net for the Senators, while Leo Komarov couldn’t jump on Jay McClement’s rebound quick enough to beat Bishop.
Toronto took the lead at 3:32 of the first as Grabovski’s shot made it through traffic and beat Bishop through the legs.
The Senators tied it midway through the first on Zibanejad’s third of the season. Zibanejad crossed the blue-line, passed to Greening who put a shot on goal, but it was Zibanejad who tipped it in as he made his way to the net.
The Senators held their breath as Andre Benoit hobbled to the bench after blocking a shot in the second. The last thing the Senators need is another injury, but Benoit did return for the third period.
Notes: Ottawa is without D Erik Karlsson (Achiles, out for season), C Jason Spezza (upper-body injury, indefinite), LW Milan Michalek (knee, day-to-day), C Peter Regin (day-to-day), D Jared Cowen (hip, out for season) and RW Guillaume Latendresse (whiplash, day-to-day). D Mike Lundin was a late scratch for the Senators due to the flu. Toronto is without LW Joffrey Lupul (forearm, two weeks), G James Reimer (knee, indefinite), forward Matt Frattin (knee, indefinite), RW Colton Orr (lower body, day-to-day). D Mike Komisarek and D John-Michael Liles were a healthy scratch for Toronto.