Batherson, Senators top Maple Leafs 4-2

TORONTO – The Ottawa Senators powered through a slow start to get the better of their rivals on Wednesday.

Drake Batherson scored two goals in leading the Senators to a 4-2 come-from-behind win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Battle of Ontario. Ottawa improved to 2-2-0 with a two-game winning streak under interim head coach Jacques Martin.

“I think we had a slow start, I don’t think we were ready to play at the pace that the Leafs came out (with) and they got a 2-0 lead,” said Martin, who took over the job on Dec. 18. “But what I like is our resiliency, how we battled back, how we stuck with it, how we adjusted.

“I thought the big difference in the second period, we started to get some pucks behind their D, putting some pressure, creating some turnovers, creating some scoring chances. (We were) able to tie the game and went on.”

Story continues below advertisement

Parker Kelly and Brady Tkachuk added the other goals for Ottawa (13-17-0), which improved to 2-1-0 against the Maple Leafs this season.

Joonas Korpisalo stopped 34 shots.

“Those are our rivals over there … we want to be the better team in Ontario so tonight was a good job for that,” Kelly said.

Matthew Knies and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for Toronto (17-9-6), which fell to 5-3-3 this month.

Martin Jones made 26 saves.

“We didn’t score the third goal, just let them hang around,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I thought they were better than us in the second period, for sure. Our period looks worse because our power play gives them the freebie, gives them life and energy.

Story continues below advertisement

“Some of our details just slipped on really each of the goals against, but I thought Ottawa got better and harder as the game went on and we didn’t respond to that.”

Knies opened the scoring 5:41 into the first period. He tipped in a low point shot from Auston Matthews.

Bertuzzi doubled down just 23 seconds later, tipping in a cross-ice pass from Morgan Rielly.

The Senators shifted the momentum in the second period, outshooting the Leafs 14-8. Toronto had outshot Ottawa 12-6 in the opening frame.

Kelly cut into the Leafs’ lead 10:17 into the second with a short-handed marker. After a Josh Norris high-sticking penalty 41 seconds earlier gave Toronto the power play, Kelly blasted home a one-timer from Claude Giroux on a 2-on-1 break.

Batherson knotted the contest, firing in a rebound off a Tim Stutzle miss with 5:35 left in the middle frame.

Batherson scored again 3:44 into the third period to put the Senators ahead. The right-winger beat Jones from behind the goal line with a shot that bounced off the netminder’s left shoulder and dropped into the net as he tried to catch it.

“I mess around with that a little bit,” Batherson said of practising the shot. “Obviously, got it a few times before. Just kind of the angle of the shot, … the goalie was kind of off position so I figured I’d try and bank it.

Story continues below advertisement

“Lucky goal but I’ll take it for sure.”

Bertuzzi had an opportunity to tie the game eight minutes into the frame. Tavares flicked the puck past Korpisalo, who was off to the side of the net, and the puck landed about a couple of centimetres in front of the goal line.

However, Bertuzzi was tied up with a defender and failed to put the puck into the gaping net.

Tkachuk sealed it with an empty-netter with 2:27 remaining.


Matthews hasn’t had much trouble finding the back of the net in 2023-24. The 26-year-old’s two-goal game against Columbus last Saturday gave him a league-leading 28 goals in 30 games.

He became the first player to score 27-plus goals in his first 30 games of a season since Jaromir Jagr (30 goals) in 1996-97. Matthews is also the second Toronto player in the modern era (since 1943-44) to do so alongside Frank Mahovlich in 1960-61 (27 goals in 30 games).


The Leafs are off to Columbus for a Friday night game against the Blue Jackets.

The Senators will be home to the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

Story continues below advertisement

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 27, 2023.

Sponsored content