TORONTO (AP) The best game of Tyler Bozak’s career sent the Ottawa Senators to a tough loss.
Bozak recorded his first career hat trick – scoring all three goals in the third period – and assisted on Eric Brewer’s winner in overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs won 4-3 on Saturday night.
”Tyler’s first time getting four points in a game, and a hat trick, that’s obviously big,” Leafs coach Peter Horachek said. ”He had a spectacular game.”
Ottawa held a two-goal lead after 40 minutes and looked to have two points locked up, which would have moved the club past Boston for the final playoff spot in the East. But Toronto stormed back with three goals in the third period – including Bozak’s third, which came with James Reimer on the bench for the extra attacker with just 1:24 remaining in regulation.
”They got the one to make it 2-1 and they got momentum and anything can happen,” said Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 27 saves. ”Before you know it, we’re fishing the puck out of our net. We had the opportunity and we let it slip.”
The Maple Leafs rallied from two down twice in the final period to snap a seven-game skid. Reimer stopped 22 shots to improve to 11-3-1 in his career against Ottawa.
Mark Stone, Curtis Lazar and Kyle Turris scored for the Senators. The 33-year-old Anderson was making just his third start since Jan. 21 after watching rookie Andrew Hammond go 14-1-1 in his place.
”Points are huge. You don’t know which point is going to be the one to get you in,” Anderson said. ”We still have our fate in our hands, just have to keep winning and get points.”
With Toronto trailing 3-1 midway through the third period, Bozak had a power-play goal with 8 1/2 minutes remaining and then tied with 1:24 to go.
Stone opened the scoring 4:25 into the second period after taking a feed from Clarke MacArthur. Stone beat Reimer blocker side with a wrist shot for his 19th of the season.
Reimer had to be sharp only 24 seconds after Stone’s goal, stopping Zach Smith on a breakaway to keep the score 1-0.
However, Lazar one-timed a pass from Jean-Gabriel Pageau to double the lead at 5:59.
Toronto got on the board 3:13 into the third when van Riemsdyk backhanded a pass to Bozak, who swatted home his 20th of the season past Anderson.
Turris scored a power-play goal at 9:30 of the third to restore the two-goal lead.
Anderson’s first test came 2:24 into the game when he robbed David Booth from the slot with a glove save. That was Toronto’s only shot on net in the first 10:46.
Ottawa went 1 for 1 on the power play while Toronto was 1 for 3.
”Bozak and Kessel had a pretty good game,” Anderson said, ”and we allowed them to.”
NOTES: Garrett Gamble, an 11-year-old from Saskatoon had his dream fulfilled through the Children’s Wish Foundation and was signed to a one-day contract by the Maple Leafs on Saturday. Garrett was taken for a skate by former Leafs player Wendel Clark and dropped the puck for a ceremonial faceoff. … Hammond missed the game with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day.