Last-place Senators beat Maple Leafs 4-2

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — With the playoffs just over a week away, the Toronto Maple Leafs know they’re running out of time to clean up their game.

The Maple Leafs missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot Saturday night, falling 4-2 to the last-place Ottawa Senators. It was Toronto’s second loss in the nation’s capital in two weeks and continued a run of inconsistency.

“I thought we had lots of looks, lots of opportunities and did lots of good things,” coach Mike Babcock said. “In the end, we didn’t finish around their net enough.”

The Senators’ game operations staff appeared to troll their provincial rivals in the final minute, playing the Leafs’ goal song — “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates — as Ottawa put the final touches on a victory.

The Maple Leafs fell to 3-5-2 in their past 10 games.

“It was a tight hockey game, obviously,” center John Tavares said. “We were doing a pretty good job generating chances, getting a lot of pucks to the net, but giving too much time and space and we just can’t give up the opportunities, especially to the middle of the ice to make it tough on our goaltenders. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just the attention to detail each and every shift.”

Anthony Duclair scored twice and Craig Anderson made 42 saves for Ottawa.

“I’m proud of the way we handled ourselves,” Duclair said. “It was one of those games that you’re motivated to play in with a building packed with Leafs fans.”

Magnus Paajarvi and Cody Ceci also scored for the Senators.

Auston Matthews and Connor Brown scored for Toronto, and Garret Sparks stopped 18 shots.

Toronto overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie it in the third on goals 27 seconds apart. Matthews beat Anderson on a power play, and Brown converted off a turnover.

Ceci countered for Ottawa less than two minutes later, tucking a shot just under the crossbar. Duclair added an empty-net goal.

“I thought we responded in the right way (after the Maple Leafs tied it),” Anderson said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves. I think we knew that we made a mistake and gave up an odd-man rush, but the very next shift we got back to basics and got back to what was giving us some success and making it difficult for them.”

NOTES: Forward Zack Smith returned to the Senators after missing three games with a back injury. Ottawa was without defenseman Mark Borowiecki because of ab upper-body injury. … Defenseman Travis Dermott returned to Toronto’s lineup after missing 14 games with a shoulder injury.


Maple Leafs: At New York Islanders on Monday night.

Senators: Host Tampa Bay on Monday night.