The Senators are headed to Toronto for a Saturday night match-up with the divisional rival Leafs. Having played a week ago, the Leafs and Senators will be look to steal another big two points in their hunt for a playoff spot.
Like any divisional game, this game is essentially a four-point game. If the Leafs are able to come away with the win, they will move back into the top three in the Atlantic Division, while the Senators can use the two points to pull even further ahead in solidifying their spot among the division’s best.
The Senators are coming off news that Clarke MacArthur won’t return to the team this season, while they also got word that they will get their starting goaltender – Craig Anderson – back full-time soon.
The Leafs also got news that they will have a defenceman returning to the lineup. While it isn’t Morgan Rielly, Toronto will get Martin Marincin back for the first time since being injured on December 10 in a game against the Bruins.
Both the Leafs and Senators have each won a game in the season series so far this season with Toronto grabbing an extra point in their overtime loss to Ottawa back in October. Both Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak will look to reach individual and franchise milestones respectively in the goal column when they take to the ice tonight against Ottawa, while the Leafs will just look to add another two points to the 50 they’ve already picked up this season.
Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs
Air Canada Centre – 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CBC, CITY and TVAS2
2016-17 Season Series:
October 12 – Senators 5 – Maple Leafs 4 (OT)
January 14 – Maple Leafs 4 – Senators 2
Ottawa Senators – 24-15-4 – 52 Points
Road Record: 11-8-0
Hot Players: Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone
Key Injuries: Andrew Hammond, Clarke MacArthur and Craig Anderson (personal reasons)
Zack Smith-Derick Brassard-Mark Stone
Mike Hoffman-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Tom Pyatt
Ryan Dzingel-Kyle Turris-Bobby Ryan
Chris Kelly-Curtis Lazar-Chris Neil
Marc Methot-Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf-Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki-Chris Wideman
Toronto Maple Leafs – 21-14-8 – 50 Points
Home Record: 11-8-2
Hot Players: Mitch Marner, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak
Key Injuries: Morgan Rielly, Ben Smith and Joffrey Lupul
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Mitch Marner
Leo Komarov-Nazem Kadri-William Nylander
Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-Connor Brown
Matt Martin-Frederik Gauthier-Nikita Soshnikov
Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick
Martin Marincin-Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick-Roman Polak
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Leafs’ forward Tyler Bozak will tie Hap Day for 43rd on the Leafs’ all-time list for games played when he suits up for Toronto on Saturday. Including the game against Ottawa, it will be his 476th career game for the Leafs. He also needs just one goal to tie Red Kelly (119) for 36th on the Leafs all-time list and two to tie him with Dave Andreychuk (120) for 35th.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Kadri is sitting on 99 goals in his young NHL career. One more and he’ll reach his first centennial milestone and in the Leafs centennial year nonetheless.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Leafs have matched up 110 times against the modern-day Senators earning a 50-47-3-10 all-time record. However, over that span, the Sens outscored the Leafs 323-313.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Leafs might have the upper hand when it comes to playing within the division. Toronto holds a 10-4-1 record against the Atlantic Division, while the Senators aren’t quite as successful holding just a 6-6-1 record against divisional opponents.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]While it has struggled as of late, the Leafs have the second best power play in the league firing at 24.1 percent success. The Senators meanwhile have a 17 percent success rate on the man advantage – good enough for 19th in the league. The Leafs also have the fourth best penalty kill (84.9 percent) with Ottawa not far behind (82.6).
While the Leafs and Senators haven’t exactly reached bad blood just yet this season, anything can be possible in the Battle of Ontario. With both clubs looking to pick up two big points on Saturday, expect frustrations to boil over and the intensity to pick up when the Sens and Leafs hit the ice.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.