TORONTO (AP) — Frazer McLaren needed eight stitches to close the cut on his chin from a fight, another four for a gash on his cheek carved open by a stick later in the game.
Still, it was McLaren who delivered the most damaging blow of the night.
Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists to help the Toronto Maple Leafs hold off the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on Wednesday in a game highlighted by a knockout punch from McLaren.
Only 26 seconds into the latest installment of the Battle of Ontario, the Toronto tough guy decked Dave Dziurzynski when he caught the Ottawa forward flush with a right to the chin, sending him face down to the ice in a frightening scene.
"It was just a lucky punch. It happens sometimes," McLaren said.
A woozy Dziurzynski was slow getting up and eventually needed help from two teammates to skate off.
"Those are big, tough men fighting," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "You see that, you just wish the trainer gets there quicker."
Dziurzynski did not return, and the Senators said he had a concussion. He logged a total of 3 seconds in his 10th NHL game.
"I hope he's OK," said McLaren, who noted the Maple Leafs had a flat start last time out. "I was just trying to get us going early. I asked him (to fight) and he actually said no, so I thought we weren't going to go and then he ended up dropping his stuff there when the puck dropped.
"He's a big guy and he actually gave me a few good ones early there."
Senators center Zack Smith said he had checked on his teammate after the game and "he looked fine."
"That's what McLaren does and it was definitely good for Dziurzynski to step up, but I don't know if that was the best trade-off," Smith said. "He's a big guy but it's just unfortunate he put himself in that situation."
Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk each had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, who won their third straight. They built leads of 3-0 and 5-2 before Ottawa scored twice in the final 8 minutes.
Toronto moved two points ahead of the Senators for fifth place in the Eastern Conference halfway through the season, shortened to 48 games by the NHL lockout. The teams entered tied for third in the Northeast Division.
"To me it's all irrelevant right now," Carlyle said. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us."
Jay McClement and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Maple Leafs.
Mika Zibanejad, Smith, Daniel Alfredsson and Colin Greening had the goals for Ottawa, which lost its fourth in a row and dropped to 3-7-2 on road. The Senators are 9-1-2 at home.
Less than 5 minutes after McLaren dropped Dziurzynski, Toronto's Colton Orr fought Ottawa's Chris Neil in what was mostly a wrestling match.
From that point on, the teams stuck to hockey in a sloppy, wide-open game.
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