Sens can't finish again

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

TORONTO -- Christoph Schubert was probably expecting another relatively quiet night on the fourth line last night.

Not so fast.

Schubert wound up back on the blue line and in the middle of the fireworks last night as the Senators blew a third-period lead for the fourth time in five games and wound up losing 4-3 in overtime to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto's Darcy Tucker scored his second of the night to give the Leafs the win at 3:11 of overtime after they had overcome a 3-1 deficit entering the third period.

The Senators just couldn't handle the surging Leafs last night, the Toronto side energized, completely different from the lacklustre bunch who lost in Ottawa Thursday night.

"We knew we'd see a desperate team. Everbody is jockeying for positions, but there's no excuse not to be ready for that one," said Senators defenceman Wade Redden, who lost a fight for the puck at the Ottawa line on the winner.

'WE SAT BACK'

"They were just wearing us down with their forecheck. We've got to address the way we play with the lead. We sat back and they kept coming."

The win allowed the Leafs to salvage the back half of their home-and-home series with the Senators and move into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Senators got a point out of the loss and are now one ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fight for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with the Pens holding a game in hand.

Tucker worked a beautiful passing play with Matt Stajan, snapping home a shot from the left of Senators goaltender Ray Emery for the winner.

Schubert wound up back on the blue line after defenceman Anton Volchenkov was forced to leave the game after taking an elbow in the nose from Toronto's Alex Ponikarovsky 90 seconds into the game.

Schubert dropped back to play with Chris Phillips and wound up getting caught at centre ice on the play that led to the Leafs' tying goal with a little more than four minutes left in the third period.

Schubert stepped up in the neutral zone and collided with Ponikarovsky. The puck was caught under them and the Leafs got to it first.

Leafs captain Mats Sundin, practically invisible in the Senators' 5-1 win in Ottawa, was a tower of power last night. He jumped on the loose puck and fed it by Phillips to Nik Antropov, who flipped it over Emery's shoulder to tie the game.

"Our defence didn't move the puck. That was our biggest problem," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "To be fair, Schubert hadn't been playing back there and Joe Corvo had a tough night with the puck. They knew that and kept chipping and chipping the puck ... and some of our forwards didn't play to the level they've been at. They got on us and we were tentative."

The Senators were outshot 11-4 in the third and 27-10 over the last two periods so that tells you right there the Leafs were full value for the win. The Senators' inability to hold leads (they blew leads of 2-1 lead against Atlanta, 3-1 against Chicago and 4-1 against Pittsburgh before Thursday night's win) is now a full-blown concern again.

EMERY A STANDOUT

But if not for some outstanding work by Emery, the Senators wouldn't have had to worry about protecting a lead in the third again.

The Senators looked to be in control after two periods after a short-handed goal by Dany Heatley with five seconds left in the second gave them a 3-1 lead. Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher had scored to give them a 2-0 lead before the game was half over.

Tucker made it 2-1 at 16:32 of the second.

Truth is, going into the third, the Senators were being soundly outplayed by the Leafs and their effort finally paid off when Toronto's Boyd Devereaux threaded a 49-foot snap shot through a crowd and over Emery's left shoulder at 9:09 of the third.

The Senators are in New York to face the Rangers Tuesday night.


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