Preview: Leafs Host Senators in Important Battle of Ontario

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.

Martin Marincin, Maple Leafs
The Leafs will have Martin Marincin back in the lineup when they take on the Senators on Saturday. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

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)

Projected Lines:


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


Mike Condon

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

Projected Lines:


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


Frederik Andersen

Game Notes

[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.

Nazem Kadri, Maple Leafs, NHL
Nazem Kadri will look to score his 100th career goal when his Leafs take on the Senators. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

[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.