Peter Holland scored the winning goal in the seventh round of the shootout to lift the Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the Senators on Sunday night.
Ottawa picked up one point, pulling two behind Detroit, Boston and Pittsburgh — who are tied for the last three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with three games left for each team. The Senators host Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
"At the end of the day these guys are much further down the standings than us," Ottawa's Mark Stone said of the Maple Leafs. "We need those points more than they do. For us to lose that one, it costs us a point."
Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk scored in regulation for the Maple Leafs, and Jonathan Bernier had 43 saves through overtime.
Erik Karlsson and Stone scored for Ottawa, and Andrew Hammond finished with 36 saves — including 21 in the first period.
In the shootout, Mika Zibanejad scored in the first round to put the Senators ahead, and Lupul tied it in the second. Neither team broke through again until Holland's game-winner.
"We had our opportunities," Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot said. "We didn't necessarily bury any of them. That was the difference."
This was the Senators' fourth straight game to reach overtime, and the fifth in six matchups with the Maple Leafs. Toronto has also won six straight in Ottawa, dating back to 2012.
"I think it all goes back to the motivation and wanting to play the game the right way," Toronto interim coach Peter Horachek said. "We've been putting a lot of pressure internally on us to play that way."
Toronto came out fast, as Lupul opened the scoring at 3:10 of the first period when he corralled the puck in front of Hammond and slid a shot past him.
The Senators had some chances, including a 2-on-1 rush, but Toronto controlled the play and finished with a season-high in shots for a period, outshooting Ottawa 22-12.
It was all Senators for the majority of the second. Nine seconds into a power play, Karlsson crashed the net from the point to put home a rebound at 7:15 for his 21st goal of the season.
The Leafs didn't have a shot on goal for the first 9 minutes of the middle period, but van Riemsdyk got the tiebreaker with 7:19 remaining. With the teams skating 4-on-4, the Senators left van Riemsdyk open, and Holland found him for the go-ahead goal.
Stone tied it 1:09 into the third on the power play, firing a one-timer off a pass from Kyle Turris past Bernier. It was the rookie's 22nd goal of the season.
"Didn't have a very good first period and were good from that point on," Ottawa coach Dave Cameron said.
Though they were not the aggressors for most of the night, the Leafs relished a chance to play spoiler against their rivals.
"That's a hockey game — back and forth when the pressure's on," Horachek said. "Their season's at the brink, as well. They've got to win, they've got to collect points. But they got a point, so it'll be interesting to see what happens to them down the stretch."
NOTES: Holland had the primary assist on van Riemsdyk's goal and the shootout winner in his return from a 10-game absence because of a lower-body injury. ... Leafs forward David Booth played in his 500th career NHL game. ... The Senators started Hammond for the second straight night after he beat Washington at home in overtime Saturday.