Toronto Maple Leafs (26-19-11, 14th in NHL) vs. Ottawa Senators (30-19-6, 12th in NHL)
Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST
Arena: Air Canada Centre
Game Day Podcast
Statistics courtesy of SportingCharts.com
|Home Winning %||0.6||0.593|
|Away Winning %||0.524||0.518|
|Shootout Winning %||0.8||0.143|
|Goal Differential Per Game||-0.02||0.21|
|Shot Differential Per Game||-0.49||0.25|
|Hits Per Game||26.2||24.6|
|PIM Per Game||10.3||10.3|
|Opponent PIM Per Game||10.2||10.6|
|Goals Per Game||2.62||3.09|
|Even Strength Goals Per Game||2||2.3|
|Power Play Goals Per Game||0.53||0.7|
|Shots Per Game||29.5||32.7|
|Shots Per Goal||11.3||10.6|
|Team Shooting %||0.089||0.094|
|Power Play %||0.168||0.232|
|Goals Against Per Game||2.64||2.88|
|ES Goals Against Per Game||2.09||2.27|
|PP Goals Against Per Game||0.51||0.54|
|Shots Against Per Game||29.98||32.48|
|Shots Against Per Goal||11.37||11.3|
|Opp. Team Shooting %||0.088||0.089|
|Penalty Kill %||0.839||0.834|
|Goals Against Average||2.6||2.83|
|Opponent Save %||0.911||0.906|
|Opponent Goals Against Average||2.58||3.04|
- Nazem Kadri: 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in last 13 games
- Josh Leivo: five points (one goal, four assists) in last two games
- Erik Karlsson: three points (one goal, two assists) in last three games
- Dion Phaneuf: four points (three goals, one assist) in last four games
- Bobby Ryan: three points (one goal, two assists) in last two games
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
Josh Leivo – Nazem Kadri – Leo Komarov
van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Connor Brown
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Matt Martin – Ben Smith – Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly – Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner – Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak
Starter: Frederik Andersen (Confirmed)
Backup: Curtis McElhinney
Scratched: Martin Marincin, Alexey Marchenko
Injured: Mitch Marner (upper body, out for weekend, re-evaluated Monday)
Ottawa Senators Projected Lines
Ryan Dzingel – Derick Brassard – Mark Stone
Mike Hoffman – Kyle Turris – Zack Smith
Tom Pyatt – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Bobby Ryan
Chris Kelly – Curtis Lazar – Tommy Wingels
Fredrik Claesson – Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki – Chris Wideman
Starter: Craig Anderson (Confirmed)
Backup: Mike Condon
Injured: Marc Methot, Clarke MacArthur
Morning Skate: Mike Babcock
Is Mitch available tonight?
Babcock: No. So, because he can’t go today, that means for sure he won’t go tomorrow. So we’ll deal with him next week. I think we’ve got a day off and then we play again if I’m not mistaken, so he’ll have a chance for that opportunity.
You happy with the depth you’ve had, especially on the right side, where Soshnikov is able to come in?
Babcock: Well, I’m happier just because of the way Leivo played. If Leivo hadn’t played these last few games, you wouldn’t be thinking the same thing, but Leivo played so well. It’s an opportunity. Mitch is a real good player. In saying all that, though, I’ve never been a big believer in worrying about the guys who aren’t playing. We’ll worry about the guys that are playing and get them to play right.
What sort of chemistry have you seen develop between Auston and William when they’ve had the chance to play together?
Babcock: That’s a good question for me. Well, obviously, I don’t go to it very often, so I don’t like it that much. But I can tell you how great it is, but… The biggest thing I find with them is that they’re really talented guys. They both can really shoot the puck. There are only so many shooters on a line. What I like about the other group is they’re getting the puck to Matthews all the time and he knows they’re getting it to him. It’s not a bad deal because he shoots it in the net a lot. To me, I like to spread those guys out a little bit. Now, in saying that, I’m pretty sure Willy would like to play with Matt. Here’s your opportunity. How long you get to do it is up to you.
Your starts have been a little inconsistent the last couple of weeks. Tuesday was great. Wednesday, obviously, not quite as good. Can you tell early in the game if a team is going to get out to a good start and when it’s going to be a bad one?
Babcock: We didn’t execute in one play in Columbus at the start. They were coming and we were watching them. Things weren’t going that good. It was pretty obvious to me. To tell you the truth, the start the other night when we won 7-1, if you go back, we didn’t execute at all in the first five or six or seven minutes and our goalie was good. The next thing you know, we’re off to the races. The game before that, where we played real good, they scored first about six minutes in and so it looked like the start wasn’t as good. I think sometimes we’re talking about scoring first versus whether your start is good. The idea is you want to score first every night. I think that’s important tonight just because of the way they play and the way we play. The neutral zone ought to be like a traffic jam. You want to have at her tonight.
What do you think has allowed Josh Leivo to play so well when he’s gotten into games this year?
Babcock: I think DJ Smith is skating the living crap out of him every day and getting in shape — probably the best of your life — suddenly that makes you a step quicker. The other thing is if you’re really determined, and you think you have the skill set — and he does have a skill set, he’s got a real good mind, he’s got real good hands, heavy, heavy shot — you just work and wait for your opportunity. Someone must have played shortstop before Cal Ripken did, right?
Have you seen a difference in how the penalty kill is performing at home versus on the road?
Babcock: No. We talk a lot about that. Someone asked me this question the other day. I said, “one year when I was in Detroit we won all these games on the road. The next year we won all at home. You spend a whole winter trying to figure it out.” Now, I think in lots of situations, if your powerplay is like that, we say you’re trying to be too cute at home. On the penalty kill you’re not trying to be cute. So are we more passive at home? Are we not winning as many faceoffs? We’ve analyzed all of those things, believe me. The way I look at it is this is a new opportunity for us tonight. Let’s make sure we’re jumping.
You’re not expecting a busy deadline day. Of course, that could change at the last second. Who knows? But do you think that has a calming effect on your dressing room?
Babcock: Well, that was the idea. How’s that? You’re catching on fast. I should’ve come out and said, “we’re going to be just flying [on deadline day]!” Like, I think we’re owned by one of the TV stations, too. The more buzz you can create, the better it is for them. This is the way I look at it — we have a long-term project here. We understand that totally. If you can ever improve your team for the future, I think it’s way different than when you think you can win the Cup and have an opportunity and you need more bodies. That’s not our situation whatsoever. The other thing I’d tell you is there are two things that are involved this year. Everyone looks like they’re the same and still in it. The second thing is there is an expansion draft. There are two parts to it that make it way different. I know we’ve got to sell ratings and the TV show and all that, but no, I wouldn’t be holding my breath.
Since Ben Smith returned from injury, how long until you saw him climb to the level he was at before and have you been happy with what you have seen?
Babcock: Here of late, better at the start, not quite as good… Smitty is just an honest, hard-working guy. His intangibles are more than his skill set. Until he gets up to speed, it’s harder for him. I also thought Leivo was really good. We need Sosh to come back and make sure he’s helping out here tonight.