OTTAWA – For a while the Ottawa Senators felt like they were playing a road game in their own building.
But a key goal by Kaspars Daugavins quited the Maple Leaf fans at Scotiabank Place as the Senators hung on against their provincial rivals.
Daugavins’ first career goal stood as the winner as the Senators won their sixth straight game, 3-2 over Toronto on Sunday.
It’s the Senators’ longest winning streak since April 2010.
“It was a pretty weird feeling to be at home and be like a road team,” said Senators goaltender Robin Lehner said of the heavy contingent of Maple Leafs supporters in the building.
“In the end the Ottawa fans were a louder I think, and it feels really special to get the win.”
Colin Greening and Chris Neil added power-play goals for the Senators (7-5-0).
“Special teams are going to be big for us all year,” Senators forward Jason Spezza said.
“When you’re a young hockey club, if you can play five-on-five even up and win your specialty teams battles, you’re going to win most nights. This was a big game and they’re playing great hockey right now and we knew it was a big challenge.”
Lehner made his first start of the year after being called up from Binghamton of the American Hockey League earlier in the weekend and made 23 saves.
Clarke MacArthur scored both goals for the Maple Leafs (7-3-1), the first coming on the power play. Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin provided the assists both times.
Jonas Gustavsson made 27 saves in taking the loss.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Leafs, but they closed out a respectable first month of the season. The big thing for coach Ron Wilson is that his club still has not lost two games in a row.
“Our attitude is not to lose two games in a row and what’s happened has happened. We’re focused on the next game because we didn’t accomplish anything other than have a fairly good month,” Wilson said.
“We have to focus for our next two games which are on the road and go from there.”
The Senators beat the Maple Leafs for the first time this season following a 6-5 loss in Toronto earlier this year.
Heading into the third period with a 2-1 lead, Senators forward Zach Smith stole the puck from Matthew Lombardi just inside the Leafs line and dished it off to Daugavins, who scored with a long shot that beat Gustavsson at 7:08.
MacArthur responded less than two minutes later to pull the Leafs to within a goal. Shortly after the Leafs went on a power play as Daugavins was called for hooking, but they failed on that opportunity and couldn’t beat Lehner the rest of the way.
“The game went pretty fast up and down the rink and I thought at the end of the game we defended way more than I would have liked,” said Senators coach Paul Maclean.
“We defended well enough to win the game obviously but we played most of the third period, especially after we got the lead, in our own end. I thought Robin Lehner made a couple of saves that were big.”
MacArthur opened the scoring 11 minutes into the first period as Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson sat in the penalty box for slashing.
Greening tied the game a little less than five minutes later on the power play, as the first period ended in a 1-1 tie.
Neil tipped a point shot from Karlsson past Gustavsson, again on the power play, for the only goal of the second period.
Notes: Senators forward Jason Spezza had his six game point-scoring streak snapped Sunday. He had 11 points over the previous six games…Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson leads the NHL with 12 assists…Senators forwards Zenon Konopka and Chris Neil are first and second respectively in the NHL with 49 and 46 penalty minutes…Phil Kessel had his four-game point streak halted |Sunday, but he still leads the Leafs and the NHL with 18 points in 11 games.