TORONTO (Ticker) -- Curtis Joseph was closing in on history. He'll gladly settle for a commanding three games to none lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The Ottawa Senators finally solved Joseph, tallying twice in the final 3:09 of regulation to force overtime, but defenseman Cory Cross scored 2:16 into the extra period to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory.
Ottawa goaltender Patrick Lalime made a blocker save on Nik Antropov's wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. But Cross was unchecked at the top of the left circle, got the rebound and slapped a shot over Lalime's glove for his first career playoff goal.
"I was just ecstatic and just jumped in the air," said Cross, who had three goals in 41 games during the regular season. "I saw Bryan McCabe, I thought he was going to kill me coming off the bench. So I just dove and got out of the way. Just the sense of exhilaration, it's unbelievable."
Toronto can eliminate the Senators from the playoffs for the second straight year at home on Wednesday night.
Joseph was protecting a 2-0 lead late in the third period as he tried to become the first goalie in 56 years to record three straight playoff shutouts. But Marian Hossa got his first career playoff goal with 3:09 left to end Ottawa's postseason scoring drought at 223 minutes, 41 seconds -- all against Joseph.
"It's OK. Those are things you don't think about," Joseph said. "The biggest thing is you want to keep the gap between your score and theirs as big as possible."
Daniel Alfredsson silenced the crowd at Air Canada Centre with 36 seconds to play, skating out of the left corner and wristing a shot from the top of the circle that made it through three teammates and eluded Joseph.
"Finally. That's the best feeling for the Senators. It was great," Hossa said. "We got the confidence. We went out there and they scored (in overtime). That's playoff hockey. We just have to recover for Game Four."
Asked about the mood in the locker room before overtime, Cross said, "Obviously, we were a little down. For them to get two goals like that, it takes some steam out of you. We talked about coming back and showing up a good overtime. We just kept positive."
Alfredsson tested Joseph again just over 90 seconds into overtime, but Cross was the hero as the Maple Leafs extended their playoff overtime winning streak to six games.
"It's a bad break from the standpoint that we had an opportunity to score just before they scored, Alfredsson all alone, and that's usually how it happens in overtime," said Senators coach Jacques Martin. "They just took a shot, Patrick made the save and the rebound just came across his stick."
"We were close tonight," Lalime added. "I don't know if we had many scoring chances in the first period, but in the third, we got a few chances and all of a sudden, the tempo changed. I think we know what to do now."
"You have to give credit. Their (penalty-killing) did a good job," Hossa said. "We need to create more shots on the power play than we did."
In contrast, the Maple Leafs used the power play to build a 2-0 lead.
With Ottawa's Rob Zamuner in the penalty box for goalie interference, McCabe flipped a shot from the right point that hit teammate Mats Sundin's skates at the side of the net and deflected between Lalime's pads. It was Sundin's second goal of the series after he scored in overtime to win Game One.
Rivers was penalized for interference 7:24 into the second period and Antropov scored 54 seconds into the ensuing power play. His rising slap shot from the right circle appeared to handcuff Lalime, hitting the goalie on the right arm and dribbling into the net.
Joseph made 26 saves while Lalime stopped 24 shots and remained without a postseason win.