Jacques Martin returns to Toronto as head coach of the Ottawa Senators for the first time since Joe Nieuwendyk and the Maple Leafs ended the Senators’ season in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series back in 2004 (7:00 p.m. EST, Sportsnet). 

Game Day Quotes

Jacques Martin on how he reflects on the playoff series vs. the Leafs in the early millennium: 

The end result wasn’t good. You are not pleased with that. But as you move along, mature, and have other opportunities, you learn from those lessons in the Battle of Ontario.

I feel I let the organization down probably at that time. I really liked our hockey club. We had a great club. I think I would be in a better position to help our team today than I was at that time.

Martin on his memories of coaching against and with Pat Quinn:

I have tremendous respect for Pat. I had the pleasure of working with Pat for Team Canada on several occasions — two Olympics, the World Cup — and really enjoyed my association.

I learned a great deal from Pat. He played the game. He was a GM and a coach. He was well-respected. He always had teams that played the right way.

Martin on the challenge against Auston Matthews (28 goals in 30 games);

I think he is a high-quality player with tremendous skills. His production this year is outstanding. You have to have an awareness when he is on the ice. A lot of times, you need more than one player to stop him. It is a matter of being in the right position, on the right side of him, and paying attention to details.

Martin on the play of the Senators since he took over as head coach:

I am hoping we keep progressing. We’ve brought in some new areas and we have tried to bring in some solutions. I liked our response.

We are trying to change our mindset with our game. I am very pleased with how we have competed and how we are progressing right now.

Sheldon Keefe on the challenge of getting up to speed after three days away from the rink:

The difficulty is just the uncertainty. You never know. Sometimes, you overthink it. The guys are great, refreshed, and excited to get back to play. Sometimes, it looks like you haven’t skated and have been out of your routine. You are never quite sure.

Energy was good this morning. To that end, we are happy with how the morning went. It seems like the guys are refreshed and excited to get back playing.

Max Domi on his first Christmas at home in Toronto in many years:

It’s amazing. It is great. It is a complete game-changer. I don’t think people realize what goes on behind the scenes with [travel]… It is certainly easier when you don’t have to leave your own house.

Matthew Knies on the challenge against the Senators coming out of the break:

It is always a close game. It is a good rivalry. A talented team. Guys are excited to get out there and get back to it with a win.

Head-to-Head Stats: Maple Leafs vs. Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines

#23 Matthew Knies – #34 Auston Matthews – #16 Mitch Marner
#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #91 John Tavares – #88 William Nylander
#89 Nick Robertson – #11 Max Domi – #19 Calle Jarnkrok
#74 Bobby McMann – #64 David Kampf – #18 Noah Gregor

#44 Morgan Rielly – #78 TJ Brodie
#22 Jake McCabe – #37 Timothy Liljegren
#2 Simon Benoit – #85 William Lagesson

Starter: #31 Martin Jones
#35 Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: Conor Timmins
Injured: John Klingberg, Mark Giordano, Joseph Woll, Ryan Reaves

Ottawa Senators Projected Lines

#7 Brady Tkachuk – #18 Tim Stützle – #28 Claude Giroux
#91 Vladimir Tarasenko – #9 Josh Norris – #19 Drake Batherson
#81 Dominik Kubalik – #71 Ridly Greig – Angus Crookshank
#13 Jiri Smejkal – #12 Mark Kastelic – #27 Parker Kelly

#85 Jake Sanderson – #2 Artem Zub
#6 Jakob Chychrun – #23 Travis Hamonic
#26 Erik Brännström – #24 Jacob Bernard-Docker

Starter: #70 Joonas Korpisalo
#31 Anton Forsberg

Injured/Out: Thomas Chabot, Shane Pinto, Mark Kastelic