Preview: Leafs at Senators, 7:30 Tonight

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    For the sixth and final time this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face their rivals, the Ottawa Senators, this time in enemy territory at Scotiabank Place.

    Tonight’s game will close out the season series between the two teams. The series currently stands at 3-2 in favor of the Leafs, who have won their past three against the Senators.

    The Leafs are coming off Sunday’s loss to the New York Islanders in which the players appeared completely spent (5 games in 8 days, culminating in back to back games, will have a negative effect on any club).  However, prior to that debacle, Toronto had won three in a row on merits of effort-laden, energetic play.  With a much-needed day off under their belts, the players will look to return to their winning ways with a strong effort against their bitter provincial rivals.

    Game Notes

    • Since the Olympic break, the youthful Leafs have impressed by displaying a strong work ethic and a never-say-die attitude, posting a 4-3-1 record (with three overtime victories) in 8 games.
    • The same cannot be said for the Senators, who have struggled since their return to action, going 1-4-1 in 6 games since the break.
    • A key reason for Ottawa’s recent slide has been the offense; the Senators have managed to score only 8 goals in their past 6 games (1.33 /gm), three of which have come on the powerplay, while allowing 18 (3.00 /gm).
    • The Leafs have scored 21 goals in their 8 games since the break (2.62 /gm), but have allowed 26 (3.25 /gm) during the same span.
    • The last time these two teams met, March 6 in Ottawa, Phil Kessel tied the game at one in the 2nd period, a score which held until Kessel beat Pascal Leclaire again in the shootout to win it for the Maple Leafs.
    • The rivalry continues to ratchet up a notch each time these teams face each other. Given the antics of Colton Orr (the crowd salute) during the last game, it shouldn’t take long for he and Matt Carkner to renew acquaintances in what is quickly becoming this era’s version of Domi – Probert.

    Roster Notes

    • Brian Elliott is expected to get the start for Ottawa tonight, while Jonas Gustavsson (who has won his past three starts, including the last time these teams met) gets the nod for Toronto.
    • Anticipated lines (per Jonas Siegel)
      Kulemin-Bozak-Kessel
      Stalberg-Grabovski-Caputi
      Mitchell-Hanson-Lundmark
      Primeau-Wallin-Orr
    • Anticipated pairings
      Beauchemin-Phaneuf
      Kaberle-Schenn
      Gunnarsson-Finger
    • Garnet Exelby is expected to be a healthy scratch.
      Update: Per Jonas Siegel, Exelby will play, Finger will sit.
    • On the injury front for Toronto, Frederik Sjostrom (shoulder) is not expected back until the end of the month.  For Ottawa, Nick Foligno (leg) and Chris Campoli (lower body) are listed on IR, with Filip Kuba listed as questionable.

    Stats Pack

    OTW TOR
    Overall Record 37-27-5
    (5th East)
    23-34-12
    (15th East)
    Home Record 23-9-4 14-14-5
    Road Record 14-18-1 9-20-7
    Goals For 182 (17th) 181 (t-18th)
    Goals Against 193 (19th) 231 (29th)
    Powerplay % 15.7 (27th) 15.6 (28th)
    Penalty Kill % 84.0 (6th) 72.2 (30th)
    Scoring First 25-5-4 14-6-4
    Leading After One 15-2-2 10-5-1
    Trailing After One 4-17-1 8-20-3
    Leading After Two 23-1-0 16-2-2
    Trailing After Two 2-25-1 0-29-7
    Overtime 8-5 4-12

    Broadcast Information

    Game Time: 7:30 pm

    Television: Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet East
    Radio: am640 Toronto, am900 CHML Hamilton
    Online: atdhe.net