Devereaux's hat trick leads Leafs over Ottawa
Boyd Devereaux's audition for a new NHL contract ended with a standing ovation and an extra bow on Saturday night.
After spending most of the season with Toronto's AHL affiliate, the veteran centre was given a chance to show what he could do with the Maple Leafs for the final eight games of the season.
Devereaux earned the game's first star with a hat trick that led the Leafs to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators in a game that took Toronto out of the running for the first overall pick in this summer's draft.
Only the bottom six teams will have ping-pong balls in the lottery and the Leafs ended the schedule seventh.
Niklas Hagman had two goals for Toronto, including an empty netter.
Jason Spezza and Chris Kelly replied for the Senators, who miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
In the first period, winger Lee Stempniak hustled over the Ottawa blue-line, split two defenders and then dropped the puck off for Devereaux, who fired a low shot that beat goaltender Brian Elliott for a 1-0 lead.
Goal No. 2 was a middle-frame beauty that even had Devereaux sneaking a peak at the replay on the scoreboard.
Stempniak worked the puck free along the half boards in the Sens' end and put a sharp pass onto Devereaux's stick in the high slot for a one-timer.
Finally, with Toronto up 3-2 thanks to Hagman's marker early in the third, Devereaux put this one away by on a pretty backhand off a rush started by a turnover at the Leafs blue-line.
That gave the centre six goals in the last eight games.
Highs and lows
Pucks were bouncing all over on this mostly meaningless night and Hagman's third-period winner proved to be no exception.
Mikhail Grabovski fired one from the left wing at Elliott that bounced off the goalie and high into the air.
While everyone put their heads up to watch the puck's flight, Hagman moved into position in the slot. The puck landed right at his skates and he fired in the go-ahead goal to make it 3-2.
Gerber's nightmare moments
Toronto goalie Martin Gerber was out to show the Senators they made a mistake by letting him go earlier this season.
Things were going fine for the first 29 minutes as the Leafs built that 2-0 margin, but the next three would best be forgotten by the former Ottawa No. 1.
A shoot-in on a Sens' power play left Gerber behind the net with the puck, hoping to put the disc back up the boards.
He whiffed on it and Spezza snuck in behind to grab the puck, raced around the left side of the net and beat the goalie to the crease for an easy put-in and a 2-1 Toronto lead.
It was Spezza's 32nd of the year.
Less than three minutes later, Gerber was again behind the net where he passed to defenceman Ian White, who missed it entirely and the puck went to Chris Kelly.
Out came the Ottawa forward for a quick wrister into the goal and a 2-2 tie.
Senators' captain Daniel Alfredsson missed this one with a sore back. The forward told Hockey Night in Canada he will not be playing for Sweden at the world championships as a result.