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Maple Leafs don’t blow 4 goal lead to Ottawa, win 7-3

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Hey! They beat Ottawa like they should have!

Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Okay. Going into tonight’s game I wanted one thing: Win a game against the Ottawa Senators in regulation by ore than two goals.

That’s it’. That’s all I wanted.

They’ve beaten Ottawa in close games twice so far this season, lost by two goals, and lost in overtime. The team sitting on top of the league standings shouldn’t have had this much trouble against a team so far below them in the standings you get the bends trying to scroll your page back up to get to the top.

The big change for tonight’s game: Frederik Andersen was a healthy scratch. Michael Hutchinson started, Joseph Woll backed him up.

The game starts off on a good pace, but the Leafs give up three shots to the Senators after they get one. The Maple Leafs do get their first powerplay of the game as Auston Matthews and Erik Gudbranson go into the corner and collide, but Gudbranson hooks Matthews on his way down.

The Maple Leafs try to get some chances, but can’t beat Marcus Hogberg, and the penalty expires without a goal.

The Leafs continue to pressure the Senators, but at the halfway mark of the period the Senators lead in shots 6-4.

Pierre Engvall gets tripped up and gives the Maple Leafs their second power play of the period, where Auston Matthews makes quick work of the man advantage to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead.

A beautiful goal for Auston Matthews, going through Joe Thornton’s legs and past Hogberg. HIs 15th goal for the season, and 18th goal in 20 games against Ottawa.

This goal broke Marcus Hogberg. He leaves the game and Matt Murray takes the net.

I think I hurt my back just watching him stretch like that.

So, the Maple Leafs have had two power plays so far, and we all know what that means: It’s Leafs hunting season!

The Maple Leafs top line strikes again, with Jake Muzzin taking a point shot through a lot of traffic that hits Joe Thornton’s stick just at the right angle to be tipped into the side of the net. 2-0 Maple Leafs.

The Senators get back within one, as Tim Stutzle gets the puck in his own end and takes it all the way down the boards to put it past Hutchinson on a tight angle. 2-1 Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs first line are determined to keep the two goal lead, as Auston Matthews

The first period ends with the Leafs up 3-1 and controlling play for the most part. We have our two goal lead.

How’d the second period start?

Ilya Mikheyev scores his second of the season, just putting the puck below the stick arm of Murray. Maple Leafs lead 4-1.

The Marner saw someone not on the top line score, so he had to go do something about that. He makes it 5-1.

The Senators get a make up call for those two penalties in the fist period as Travis Dermott gets called for interference. Ottawa’s first power play of the game comes five minutes into the second period - that power play is 0/13 in their last six games.

It moves up to 0/14 but once the Senators get back to full strength former Maple Leaf Connor Brown scores to make it 5-2.

Shortly after Mitch Marner goes for his second goal, but gets hooked and tripped and poked by the stick of Erik Brannstrom, who gets called for the hooking part and the Maple Leafs get their third power play of the game.

As the power play nears it’s end, Jason Spezza takes a shot from up close which bounces off Matt Murray’s chest and the puck lands right in from of William Nylander, who breaks his seven game goal-less streak to put the Leafs up 6-2:

Nylander gets a break away and tries to double his goals for the night, but he puts too much pepper on the shot and it goes high over the net.

The Leafs do not give up, with Matthews trying his wrap around, and Ilya Mikheyev and Jimmy Vesey putting shot after shot after shot on net.

The Senators don’t sit back and accept being down by four goals (I don’t know why they would think they could come back) and force Hutchinson to use his feet to make the save.

With less than two minutes remaining TJ Brodie gets called for tripping and gives the Senators a chance to get a goal to end the third.

They don’t. It’s 6-2 at the end of the second.

This is the big challenge for the Leafs. They’re up big going into the third period, and this is where they usually take their foot off the gas and slack off.

The good news if the Leafs kill off the remaining 30 seconds of the Brodie penalty to start the third, which is a start to not collapsing against Ottawa in the third.

We’ve been hearing ping’s all night, and no matter who wins the game, the net will get one of them for outstanding defensive play.

The Senators don’t let up. In the first five minutes of the third they lead in shots 5-1. The Leafs aren’t giving up, but the Senators are pushing harder, and not quitting.

The Maple Leafs start to pick up a little bit offensively by the mid-way mark of the third, taking away a lot of the Senators chances, or if you’re Brady Tkachuk, sticks.

The Senators don’t give up and Drake Batherson scores off Mikko Lehtonen’s skate for the third goal for the trailing team. Leafs lead 6-3.

The clock ticks down, but the Leafs aren’t done. Captain John Tavares scores the teams seventh goal from the high slot after a pass from Mitch Marner, to break his six game goal-less drought.

The Maple Leafs finally pulled off a big win over the Senators, but still fell into old habits when up by multiple goals. The Ottawa Senators did not quit at all in this game, and played much better than their record would suggest.

A lot of people came into tonight worried about Michael Hutchinson, but I think he played fine tonight, helped out greatly by the crossbar and posts.

Before we go, Joe Thornton got himself in the Maple Leafs record books:

The Leafs next game is Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens at 7:00PM, and after facing off against the challenge that was the Ottawa Senators all week, they should be ready for a fight.