Marner pots OT winner as Leafs edge Sens
Toronto forward draws penalty, scores on ensuing power play in extra frame
Michael Hutchinson used to watch the Battle of Ontario as a fan of the Maple Leafs.
Jason Spezza was in the middle of the action back then on the other side with the Ottawa Senators.
Both were key figures in the provincial rivalry's latest installment before Mitch Marner penned Saturday's final chapter.
The winger scored on a power play at 3:54 of overtime as Toronto defeated Ottawa 2-1 on night where Hutchinson made 24 saves and Spezza turned back the clock with a virtuoso performance than included an end-to-end rush and a stunning equalizer.
After the Leafs (28-17-7) killed off a penalty in the extra period where Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot rattle the post, Toronto got a man advantage of its own and Marner — known more for his vision and play-making ability — blasted his 14th on a one-timer off a feed from William Nylander.
"I don't think anyone really thinks I'm going to shoot that," Marner said. "Luckily it went in."
WATCH | Marner plays hero for Maple Leafs in OT:
Mark Borowiecki replied for the rebuilding Senators (18-24-10), who got 34 stops from Craig Anderson after losing 5-3 at home to Washington on Friday.
"We stayed with it," Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. "We knew it was going to be a really hard game, and it was."
Kapanen scratched for 'internal accountability'
Saturday's other big storyline was the Leafs' decision to scratch winger Kasperi Kapanen — the move wasn't injury-related and he watched from the Scotiabank Arena press box — with Dmytro Timashov taking his place in the lineup.
Keefe left a lot open to interpretation at his post-game news conference. "Internal accountability is really what it is," he said. "You [media] will get a chance to talk to him when we get together again on Monday."
Hutchinson, who got the call in place of No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen with Toronto playing its first of five games in eight nights, improved to 4-0-0 over his last four starts after going winless in his first seven outings this season.
"I've been positive all year," he said. "We have a lot of confidence and our whole team has that swagger back."
The 29-year-old from Barrie, Ont., used to settle down in front of the television to watch Toronto and Ottawa go to war back in the 2000s, and was excited to be part of the action for the first time.
"It was a little extra added atmosphere," Hutchinson said. "It's also cool having Spezza on our side of the Battle of Ontario now. I grew up watching him on the other side of it.
"To be a part of it was pretty cool."
Spezza turns back the clock
Hutchinson was impressed with Spezza's performance, which was accentued by a bullet slapshot to tie the game in the second period.
"He was great," Hutchinson said of the 36-year-old nicknamed "Vintage" by teammates. "He turned back the clock with some of those dangles, flying through the neutral zone and that shot."
Spezza, meanwhile, tried to downplay his ties to the Toronto-Ottawa rivalry.
"It's a huge honour for me to play here for the Leafs," Spezza said. "This Battle of Ontario's ingrained in me. I've been on the other side and used to like coming in here and trying to win games.
"But I'm really not trying to focus on all the nostalgia."