Marian Hossa scored twice and the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 4-2 on Thursday night.
The Senators will try to grab a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series on Saturday before returning to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4.
“We said that we wanted to win one game here and we did,” Hossa said. “It’s huge.”
Bryan Smolinski and Wade Redden also scored for the Senators, who are playing the rival Maple Leafs in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Ottawa, which held a 30-17 shots advantage, was eliminated by Toronto the three previous series.
“You don’t win the series in the first game. I’ve seen in the past where other teams come into the visiting building and say they just want to win one game, but now we want to win a second game,” Smolinski said.
Martin Havlat had two assists for the Senators, who came within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup finals last season.
“They were just better than us,” Toronto captain Mats Sundin said. “We took some penalties, we were undisciplined at times.”
Toronto’s Calle Johansson and McCabe received penalties before Redden tied it 2-2 at 10:02 of the second period. Hossa scored the go-ahead goal just 38 seconds later.
Redden scored his goal on a one-timer. Then, Hossa skated in and sent a shot off goalie Ed Belfour’s chest before putting the rebound past him.
“We were in the box the whole night. You can’t create offense when you’re killing penalties,” McCabe said.
After Johansson tripped and turned over the puck early in the third, Hossa came in on a breakaway and scored after Belfour skated out of the net and tripped him. Hossa wasn’t deterred, and he put the puck into an open net as he slid past Belfour.
“I missed the puck, and he just made a nice play,” Belfour said.
Senators goalie Patrick Lalime looked sharp after missing the final four games of the regular season because of a strained left knee.
Lalime said he felt good.
“Now that we have one we want the next one as well,” Lalime said. “We know it’s going to be tougher than tonight. We’ll have to play a lot better.”
Smolinski tied it after his pass went off Toronto defenseman Bryan Marchment’s skate and in at 5:05 of the first.
McCabe’s one-timer from the blue line gave Toronto a 2-1 lead on the powerplay at 18:33 of the first, but Ottawa scored the game’s final three goals.
Senators backup G Martin Prusek, who has no playoff experience in his two-year NHL career, would’ve started if Lalime couldn’t. … Toronto scored two goals on just four shots in the first period. … Ottawa went 2-for-8 on the power play, and Toronto was 1-for-3. … A fan jumped over the boards and ran onto the ice in the third. … Johansson started despite playing just eightgames since coming out of retirement on March 9.
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