Game Day: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

7:00 pm

CBC, Team 1200

T-9th East (7-9-1)@ 2nd East (10-5-1)

 

A lot has changed since the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators met two weeks ago at Scotiabank Place.  The Senators left that 3-2 victory riding a 6 game winning streak and were the talk of the league, along with the Edmonton Oilers.  The Senators haven’t had much success since that Sunday night and have now lost 5 straight and limp into Toronto after surrendering 5 goals to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. 

The Leafs, on the other hand, have maintained their placing despite the fact that they have lost their #1 goalie for an extended period.  They seem to have found this year’s James Reimer, a player to come out of nowhere and gain notoriety in the media captial of Canada.  With new #1 Reimer out of the lineup for the foreseeable future with whiplash/concussion symptoms, callup Ben Scrivens has stepped past Jonas Gustavsson on the Toronto depth chart.  Scrivens was outstanding in Toronto’s win on Thursday, making 38 saves in the 3-2 shootout win in St. Louis.  Scrivens will no doubt get the call against the Sens.

This will be Ottawa’s second game on their 6 game roadie that sees them go to Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver next week.  They need to stop the bleeding and get a win against their Ontario rival before this 5 game losing streak turns into one that rivals last season’s January losing streak.  That one resulted in the blowing up of the roster, and the commencement of the rebuild that the club is in the midst of now.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Craig Anderson, G (OTT) – Anderson lasted only 2:25 seconds last night in Buffalo, allowing two goals before yeilding the net to Alex Auld.  Anderson needs to bounce back big time or he will be approaching bust status, even this early in his contract and with a young team in front of him.  He hasn’t come close to living up to expectations and it is soon going to become worrysome for Sens fans and management both.  He is a career 4-2 against the Leafs, including a shutout last season in his Senators debut.

Ben Scrivens, G, (TOR) – The “Man of the Moment in Leafland, has 2 wins in his 3 starts this season, facing 39 and 40 shots in his wins.  He was pulled in his second start, one week ago against Boston, allowing 5 goals on 14 shots during the 7-0 loss.  After Gustavsson has struggled, Scrivens’ performance against St. Louis earned him another start, and with Reimer’s return date unknown, could create a goalie controversy in TO.

 

3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

1. Get to Scrivens early – despite their success, Toronto goalies have been pulled in 2 of thier last 4 games.  Getting to them early and often (like Boston did last week) will have the Leaf players second-guessing and focusing more on that than scoring goals

2.  Support Anderson – The goalie is obviously fighting the puck right now, so the Senators need to avoid making his job harder.  They can accomplish this by not turning the puck over at inopportune times in bad locations, as they have done too often during this losing streak.

3.  Jason Spezza – Needs to have one of those “superman” games that he can put up every once in a while.  He needs to be the best player on the ice and play both ends, and be “superman” without trying to do it all himself, he needs to let it happen that way.

 

This is the third of 6 meetings between the clubs, and they have each won once so far this season.  Ottawa plays Toronto in the second half of back-to-backs 5 times this season, including tonight.

 

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