Tonight, the Leafs and the Sens duke it out in the final Battle of Ontario for the 2011-12 season. This is the sixthÂ meeting of the two rivals with the Leafs winning three of the five games until this juncture.
The goal differential stands at 17 to 16 in favor of the Leafs. The momentum however, is clearly blowing wind in the sales of the Ottawa Senators. Credit where its due, it’s remarkable that the team has taken first place in the Northeast Division and secondÂ seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have games in hand so Ottawa will have that extra motivation to keep pushing.
The Leafs snapped a 0-4-1 skid and won for the first time since Randy Carlyle’s coaching debut with a 3-1 victory at Tampa Bay. John-Michael Liles, Joey Crabb and Jake Gardiner scored for the Buds, and James Reimer came within 26 seconds of recording a shutout, stopping 34 shots while giving some hope of his late season resurgence.
GUYS TO WATCH:
Ottawaâ€™s Erik Karlsson is having a wonderful season which could eventually get him the Norris. So far, the young stud blueliner has recorded a whopping 52 assists and 71 points, holding the seventh spot in league scoring. He is the youngest defenseman to reach 70 points in a season since the Rangers’ Brian Leetch in 1988-89.
This spot is once again reserved for Phil Kessel, who leads the team scoring in the five games against the Sens. In those five games Phil has scored 4 goals, five assists for 9 points along with a +5 rating. He recorded two GWG in that span.
Ottawa will be without forwards Jesse Winchester and Peter Regin. Their No.1 goaltender Craig Anderson is also on IR with a lacerated finger. The Leafs will be without Joffrey Lupul and Nikolai Kulemin, while Mike Brown is questionable for tonight.
WHAT TO WATCH:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Carlyleâ€™s defensive scheme against the high scoring Senators
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â How will Kessel react to a team which he had scoring success against, but with a different game plan in mind in this time around?