MacArthur scored two goals, and the Senators outlasted Detroit in a testy third period to beat the Red Wings 4-2 on Saturday night.
Ottawa won for the first time in four games, and the Senators have also taken two in a row at Joe Louis Arena for only the second time. They beat the Red Wings 6-1 in Detroit on Oct. 23.
"Coming here is never easy," MacArthur said. "You've lost three in a row and you come in here and get a win."
Bobby Ryan scored the tiebreaking goal on a two-man advantage with 16:09 remaining for the Senators, and MacArthur added an insurance goal later in the third period. Chris Neil also scored for Ottawa.
Pavel Datsyuk tied it at 2 early in the third — with the Red Wings enjoying a 5-on-3 power play. But Ottawa took advantage of its own opportunity when Detroit was down two men, going back ahead on Ryan's goal.
Detroit's Daniel Alfredsson was out of the lineup against his former team because of a groin injury.
Ottawa's only other back-to-back wins at Detroit were separated by nearly 18 months. The Senators beat the Red Wings 2-1 on Oct. 24, 1995, then beat them 3-2 on April 11, 1997.
Darren Helm scored in the first period for the Red Wings, who have won only one of their last nine games — although they have earned points in six thanks to a string of games that went beyond regulation. Detroit is 4-4-6 at home this season.
Datsyuk tied this one just over a minute into the third period. He sent what looked like a pass across the goal mouth, but the puck caromed off the left skate of Ottawa defenceman Jared Cowen and past goalie Robin Lehner for Datsyuk's 12th goal.
But with Helm in the box for hooking, Detroit's Kyle Quincey received a four-minute, high-sticking penalty, giving Ottawa a 5-on-3 edge for 81 seconds.
The Senators needed all but 5 seconds, but Ryan finally one-timed a shot past goalie Jimmy Howard from a sharp angle to the left of the net. It was his 11th goal of the season.
It wasn't long before the Red Wings were up two men again — their third 5-on-3 of the game. This one lasted 92 seconds. Ottawa killed it, although moments after one of the penalties expired, Detroit's Johan Franzen batted a rebound into the net with his left hand. The goal was immediately disallowed.
"We don't want to give up three or four 5-on-3s," MacArthur said. "I don't know if their skates were sharpened but they went down really easy a couple of times."
MacArthur's power-play goal with 4:02 to play made it 4-2.
Lehner had 34 saves. Howard stopped 25 shots.
Neil and Detroit's Brendan Smith fought in the second period, and the third period was full of skirmishes and penalties. There were nine minor penalties called in the third, in addition to Quincey's double minor. Detroit's Niklas Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist and Howard were all called for penalties in the final 5:51, limiting any chance of a comeback.
"I didn't like the Kronwall penalty. I thought it was an awful call, but other than that, you deserve what you get," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "You can't be in the box all night. No one gets into rhythm like that."
The Senators led 2-1 after the first period despite being outshot 17-7. Detroit controlled the early stages and had the game's first eight shots. The Red Wings finally took the lead on a power-play goal by Helm.
Ottawa answered with two goals in 2:21. MacArthur was able to lift the puck into the net after a scramble in front of Howard, and the Senators took the lead on Neil's goal.
"We're a desperate team right now. We need every win and to get on a roll," Lehner said. "A lot of things went right after the first 10 minutes. It was a really good game."
Detroit had a two-man advantage for 1:33 in the second, but Ottawa killed it, to the delight of a group of Senators fans high above the goal Ottawa was defending.
NOTES: Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi missed the game with an upper-body injury. Stephen Weiss returned to the lineup for the Red Wings, coming off the injured list earlier Saturday. Weiss had been out with a groin injury. ... Cowen appeared to catch Datsyuk in the head with his left arm in the third period, but the Detroit star was able to keep playing.