The battle of Ontario is one that I always look forward to, being a Sens fan living in Leaf land. For me personally this can go one of two ways, with a Sens victory I have the benefit of texting many friends (die-hard Leaf fans) and letting them hear it until the next match up, or as last season went: I receive many “heart warming” messages to which I chose mostly to ignore. Last season though, I always had the same excuse “yea well good for the Leafs, they can beat the Binghamton Senators.”
With so many key injuries last season, losing these match-ups was almost the expectation and it certainly softened the blow. The Senators dropped 4 of 5 games to the Leafs in the 2013 abbreviated season and were outscored 18-8 over the course of those 5 games. The battle of Ontario has certainly lost some of its significance in recent years, as only one of the Ontario based teams (the Ottawa Senators) has consistently made the play-offs. With just 4 games between the two rival teams this upcoming season (2 home/2 away) the Sens will be looking to re-establish themselves as Ontario’s best while the Leafs would like to continue the domination that they began last season.
Changes to the NHL’s conference re structuring means that both the Sens and Leafs (of the newly formed, not so “Atlantic division”) chances at grabbing a play off position diminish and the need for wins against divisional opponents becomes even more significant. Could this mean a more intense battle of Ontario? Maybe, depending on how each of these teams progress throughout the season it could certainly make for an interesting finish when the two teams square off on April 12/14, The Senators second last game of the regular season. Another interesting storyline this season will be new Senator and former Leaf, Clarke MacArthur. The 28-year-old winger had his most productive NHL seasons with the Leafs including a 62 point total in 2010/2011. The battle of Ontario will officially begin on October 5/13 just the second game into the new season although, we may get a preview when The Sens and Leafs hook up on September 19 and 24 for pre-season match ups.