Feb 23, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) checks Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson (11) in the third period at Scotiabank Place. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Game #24 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

After a brief stop at home to grab a change of clothes, the Senators head right back out to face the dreaded Maple Leafs.

 

12-7-4 (T-5th East)

VS

14-9-0 (T-5th East)

7:00 PM

TV:  TSN   RADIO: TEAM1200

 

HEAD TO HEAD

This is the third meeting of the season between the divisional rivals.  Each team has won on home ice, with Ben Scrivens shutting out the Sens 3-0 in the first game the Sens had to play without Erik Karlsson.  Ottawa returned the favour a week later with a thrilling 3-2 last second victory courtesy of Colin Greening‘s goal with 24 seconds left on the clock.

 

LAST GAMES

Ottawa finished a three games in four day stretch with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders on Sunday afternoon.  They will have had 72 hours off since they last skated in game action.  The Maple Leafs got back in the win column with a 4-2 win over the Devils at home on Monday night.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mark Stone, OTT – Stone was recalled from Binghamton on Tuesday morning after the weekend games that saw Binghamton go 2-0-1 in Hamilton and Toronto.  Stone played in all three games, his first action since breaking a finger in early January.  He had two assists in the Saturday win over the Marlies.  He will be making his regular season NHL debut, after playing in game 5 of the playoff series against the New York Rangers, collecting an assist.  He was brought up to create some offense, but hopefully he doesn’t feel too much pressure to score right away.

Nazem Kadri, TOR – The hottest of all Maple Leafs, has 9 points in his last 4 games.  Drafted in 2009, the young centre who was nearly an Ottawa Senator, has finally come into his own as an everyday player.  Kadri is in his third professional season and finally has emerged as a consistent talent that was expected of him when he was selected with the 7th overall pick.

 

TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR TONIGHT’S GAME

  1. SEND IN THE RESERVES – After missing 10 games with a knee injury, Milan Michalek is finally going to return to the Senators lineup.  He may require surgery in the off-season, but for now there must not be a risk of further injury or they would not likely take the chance by bringing him back.
  2. BIG BEN STANDING TALL – The Senators will look to Ben Bishop to continue the trend of providing stellar goaltending as the rotation between himself and Robin Lehner continues.  Bishop has been outstanding since his first start of the season, a 6-4 loss to Tampa.
  3. BATTLE OF ONTARIO – The last meeting showed some signs of getting the intensity back in this once-fierce rivalry, and for that to move up a notch there needs to be a significant game played in Toronto that gets their fans involved in the battle.  The two teams are tied in the standings, which is a good start for an intense battle right off the bat.

 

PARTING SHOT

The Senators left Craig Anderson in Ottawa for this leg of the trip, as his ankle hasn’t responded as well as they had hoped.  Thursday will mark two weeks since he suffered the injury, that Bryan Murray had speculated could be three or four days.  Goaltending hasn’t been the issue, so there is no need to rush him back into the lineup. The Senators should make sure he is at 100% before allowing him back in the crease.

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Tags: Game Preview Mark Stone Nazem Kadri Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs

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