The Ottawa Senators ended a six-game losing streak Thursday night and will try to carry that momentum into Saturday’s home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes opened a six-game homestand and gave the Senators their first win since Jan. 28 against the Buffalo Sabres.
“Everybody was going tonight and there wasn’t one player that wasn’t going in the first period and it showed,” Senators left winger Nick Paul, who scored his seventh goal of the season in the win, told reporters after the game. “We were hitting, we were winning our battles, we were making plays and the team played really good.”
The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, lost 3-2 to the visiting Dallas Stars on Thursday despite the return of starting goaltender Frederik Andersen, who missed four games with a neck injury. The Maple Leafs are 2-3-1 in their past six games.
The Stars scored in the first 90 seconds of each period.
“We’ve got to be a lot sharper,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We had all the numbers; we were in full control of it. We just need to take care of it.”
“They came pretty hard on those turnovers, but that’s their game,” Andersen said. “I felt good. I would have liked to come up with a couple of saves early on in those two periods, especially, even in the third.”
Backup goaltender Jack Campbell is scheduled to start Saturday with Andersen to play Sunday at Buffalo.
Ottawa and Toronto also both sustained injuries Thursday.
Maple Leafs left winger Andreas Johnsson suffered a knee injury in the first period that will require surgery and keep him out at least eight weeks. He has eight goals and 13 assists in 43 games.
Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki is out indefinitely after his right ankle was injured during the third period.
Ottawa took a 2-0 first-period lead against the Coyotes. It was only the 22nd time this season the Senators have scored the first goal of the game — last in the NHL.
“That’s a huge win for us,” said Senators left winger Brady Tkachuk, who scored his 17th goal. “We kind of struggled in the second when they put the pressure on us but we hung in there and (goaltender Marcus Hogberg, who made 32 saves) was great again for us. I thought that was a really good effort by us and it was something we can build off.
“A couple of games we haven’t had great starts so that was a big emphasis and being back home in front of our crowd I think we were energized to start his homestand.”
Keefe continued to juggle his lines with the loss of Johnsson a factor. He broke up the line of Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner after the first period Thursday, a combination he first used Tuesday in the overtime win over Arizona.
Nylander returned to his former spot beside John Tavares and Alex Kerfoot. Zach Hyman rejoined Matthews and Marner.
Matthews scored his 41st goal on a second-period power play and Hyman notched his 17th in the third.
Matthews (27:05) and Marner (26:39) both had career highs in ice time.
Keefe did not rule out using the Matthews-Nylander-Marner combination again. “Yeah, I can see it,” he said.
–Field Level Media