Jason Spezza fired a warning shot before the puck was dropped last night in the Battle of Ontario.
"They're (the Leafs) playing well and so are we," said the Senators centre. "This is a potential playoff matchup."
While the calendar read February, this game in front of 20,112 at Scotiabank Place had April written all over it as John Pohl scored on the ninth shot in the shootout to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory over the Senators.
Goalies Ray Emery and Andrew Raycroft were both sharp, while Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Comrie scored in the third period to bring the Senators back from a 2-0 deficit and secure a point.
Mats Sundin and Jeff O'Neill had goals for the Leafs.
"We're disappointed in the result, but we're glad we got the point," said Emery. "I thought we showed a lot of character in bouncing back.
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to come away with the win."
Coach Bryan Murray wasn't happy with the way the Senators played through the first two periods and let them know it before they went out and mounted the comeback.
"I liked our performance and attitude going into the third. That's the way we've been lately," said Murray. "We had no contact whatsoever in the first two periods. I went in after the second and I suggested that (it might help) if one forward on our team could make a bodycheck on a defenceman. You can't give them that much time to be creative.
"I was really disturbed after the second. I really didn't think we were competing on the body the way we should have, but we started to do that in the third and we could have had a couple more. I liked the way we went after in the third. It was like a playoff game."
Alfredsson brought life to the building, cutting the Toronto lead to 2-1 by breaking Andrew Raycroft's shutout bid at 4:47 of the third.
Then, only 14 seconds later, Mike Fisher appeared to tie it up, but it was a false alarm. The goal light went on and the sirens went off after his backhander appeared to beat Raycroft on the glove side, but replays showed the puck bounced off the post and the crossbar, but never went in.
"Everybody told me it was in, so I thought it was in, but when I saw the replay it looked like post and crossbar to me," said Fisher.
"It never crossed the line."
Murray pulled out all the stops to get the offence going. He even reunited Spezza, Alfredsson and Dany Heatley in the third period, but it was Comrie who tied it up after taking breakaway pass from Joe Corvo and beating Raycroft at 8:06.
"I thought we were doing a good job creating chances," said Spezza, who was stopped by Raycroft on the 10th shot of the shootout to allow the Leafs to take home two points. "Obviously, there is some good chemistry there with (Heatley and Alfredsson).
"We just weren't able to get that goal to tie it up."
Had it not been for the standout goaltending from Emery, the Senators could have been embarrassed by their arch-rivals because there were times Ottawa struggled badly -- especially during an ugly second period.
Murray wasn't completely happy with the result being decided by a shootout.
"I've never agreed with the shootout," said Murray. "It's entertainment. It's great the fans are all on their feet. I've always believed that ties are not a bad thing in hockey. To me, we just missed an opportunity to get an extra point."
The Senators next head to Buffalo on Wednesday.