The second installment of the Battle Of Ontario cannot be any more limp and flaccid that the first one was one week ago, and the Senators ticket follies may make it an interesting night at SBP
TV: CBC RADIO: TEAM1200
HEAD TO HEAD
The Senators and Leafs both played at home on Thursday night. The Sens downed the Rangers 3-2 in the shootout, while the Leafs were beating Buffalo 3-1 in Ron Rolston’s debut behind the Sabres bench.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
James van Riemsdyk, TOR – Replacing the injured Joffrey Lupul on the top line with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, van Riemsdyk has 10 points in his last 9 games, including an assist in last week’s game against Ottawa.
Chris Phillips, OTT – Played a season-high 24:48 on Thursday against the Rangers. He has been forced into a greater role, as have all the club’s defensemen in Erik Karlsson‘s absence. Phillips has 3 goals this season.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR TODAY’S GAME
1. Goalie Guild – Will it be Ben Bishop or Robin Lehner in the net. It is a tough choice and a good problem to have. I am sure Paul MacLean would like to give each goalie a start in Craig Anderson‘s absence. Lehner has carried Binghamton and probably deserves a reward for taking the demotion so well, and Bishop has played well in his last 3 appearances. On the plus side, I’m not sure there can be a wrong decision.
2. The invasion of Leafs Nation – With the Ottawa Senators attempt to “Take Back The Bank” by getting tickets into the hands of Sens fans instead of Leafs and Habs fans backfiring when the program became public, it will be interesting to see how fans of both sides behave tonight.
3. Build Some Hatred – As passive as last weeks game was, you have to ask if this is still a big rivalry, and if there is something that will happen on the ice to bring the Battle of Ontario back from just a minor skirmish to an all-out war that made Ottawa-Toronto games so entertaining 10 years ago.
The Senators have been doing what they have to do to win games, and that is win ugly. With two more games on this season-defining homestand, they have taken 4 of a possible 4 points, and before they head on the road for 7 of 8 games, they need to put some more points in the bank.