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The Ottawa Senators finally figured out how to hold onto a third-period lead as they snapped a three-game losing streak their last time out.
They'll try for another win over their Canadian rivals when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday in the finale of a home-and-home series.
The Senators (39-23-6) had blown third-period leads in each loss during the streak before beating the Maple Leafs 5-1 on Thursday, scoring a goal in the final period to add to their advantage.
"Going into the third period, I think we were focused on making sure that we finished the game off properly," said Dean McAmmond, whose second goal of the game provided the winning margin.
Ottawa had a 4-1 lead against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but allowed three goals in a 2:48 span midway through the third period and lost 5-4 in a shootout.
"I told them to keep playing the way they had been," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "The other night we didn't try to shoot pucks in the way that we normally would and tonight they kept going and we got another goal, and that made all the difference."
Despite the losing streak, Ottawa has earned at least one point in 12 of its last 13 games, going 9-1-3 in that span.
Dany Heatley notched the 200th assist of his career in Thursday's win and has 10 goals and 10 assists during a 13-game point streak. He has 19 goals and 37 points in 23 games against Toronto, and his 1.6 point-per-game average versus the Leafs is his highest against any team.
The Senators are 5-1-1 against the Maple Leafs this season and have won 12 of the last 15 meetings, outscoring Toronto 68-36 over that span. Ottawa is 3-0-0 this season in Toronto, where it begins a stretch of playing six of eight on the road.
"You have to give them a lot of credit, they came out flying," Maple Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft said Thursday. "They had more jump, they were on the puck faster than us, especially in our own end and when they got on a roll, we weren't able to stop them."
While Toronto (32-27-9) allowed three power-play goals on Thursday, it has performed poorly lately with the man advantage. The Maple Leafs are 0-for-19 in the last three games and just 2-for-42 since Feb. 20, losing six of nine in that span.
Toronto is one of several teams fighting for the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Maple Leafs have 73 points, 11 behind the Senators.
"Since the All-Star break we knew that we were going to be in a dogfight right until the end to make the playoffs," captain Mats Sundin said. "There are a lot of good teams just in front of us and just behind us and we can't have too many games like we had (Thursday). It's nice that we get a chance to show a better effort Saturday night at home."
The Senators have won six of the last seven meetings in Toronto.