Sens aim to break out versus Maple Leafs
The Ottawa Senators have matched their longest losing buster this evening.
The Sens try to avoid a sixth defeat in a row as they take on a Maple Leafs club that has points in four straight.
With Canada's capital city set to host the All-Star festivities, Ottawa began a six-game road trip late last month with a win at Toronto and followed that up with a triumph in San Jose. However, the Senators lost the final four games of the swing -- all in regulation -- before finally returning home on Friday to take on the Islanders.
Though they got a short-handed goal from Zack Smith, the Sens ultimately dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to match the five-game slide they also posted from Nov. 1-11. The defeat came in the opener of Ottawa's season-long five- game homestand.
"We were finally back at home and were hoping to snap our losing streak. We fell short again today," Smith said. "I don't think we got as many pucks to the net as we should have."
Craig Anderson ended with 30 saves for the Senators, who sit sixth overall in the East and five points behind the first-place Bruins in the Northeast Division. They haven't lost six straight since going 0-9-2 from Jan. 14-Feb. 9 of last season.
In fact, the last time Ottawa was in danger of dropping six in a row, it picked up a road win at Toronto on Nov. 12. That victory is part of the Senators' current three-game win streak over the Leafs and they have won six of the past nine encounters overall. Toronto, though, has won four of its past six at Ottawa.
The Maple Leafs came out of the All-Star break with a home-and-home set against the Penguins, blowing a three-goal lead in Pittsburgh on Tuesday in a shootout loss before rebounding with Wednesday's 1-0 home win behind James Reimer's 25 saves. The netminder logged his second shutout of the season and fifth of his career, while Clarke MacArthur logged the game's only goal.
The forward broke the scoreless game with 6:05 left in regulation in a big response game for the Maple Leafs.
"Considering how we felt after last game, to come back and answer like we did -- that showed a lot of character in here," said MacArthur, who has a goal in three straight games. "To get three out of four against a team like that ... obviously, you'd like all four but it doesn't work that way."
Getting healthy probably played a part in Wednesday's victory was well. Forward Colby Armstrong returned for the first time since mid-December, while defenseman John-Michael Liles saw game action for the first time since Dec. 22. Both skaters were out with concussions.
Toronto, 3-0-1 in its past four, is holding onto the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, two points up on Washington and one behind seventh-place New Jersey.