The Senators kick off a period of three games in three days as they reach the midpoint of their pre-season schedule with a return matchup of the battle of Ontario.
Air Canada Centre
7:00 PM EST
Last Meeting: The Leafs walked into Canadian Tire Centre and skated away with a 4-3 win last Thursday, to hand the Senators their first loss of the preseason.
Last Games: If only Toronto had made any headlines in the past couple of days. The Leafs and Sabres followed up a 30 player shootout (with only 1 scorer) on Saturday night with an eventful but costly 5-3 Toronto win on Sunday. By now you have no doubt seen the highlights of the brawl that saw David Clarkson get suspended for 10 games and Phil Kessel still awaiting his fate. Ottawa has been off since their loss to the Leafs on Thursday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jared Cowen, OTT – Got a late start to his training camp because of the extended contract negotiations. He will be making his pre-season debut against the Leafs and will have to start playing catch-up if he is going to be fully ready for the season opener.
Mason Raymond, TOR – One of the best Leafs in the pre-season, signed a 1 year deal yesterday after coming to camp on a professional tryout. He has 2 goals and 2 assists in 3 preseason games. His versatility will likely be much needed early on with the absence of Clarkson and most likely Kessel.
TOP 3 STORYLINES
1. Calm the Waters: After the circus left town on Sunday, don’t expect too much in the way of extra-curricular activities as the Leafs will be under the microscope. The Leafs don’t need another distraction like that.
2. Pace Yourself: With 3 games in 3 nights, pretty much everyone on the roster will play 2 of these games. Pacing this early in the season will be important and look for Paul MacLean to experiment and manage star players’ ice times while still getting them into quality situations.
3. Who’s In? - The Senators sent 28 bodies on the trip, including 6 forward lines. Who gets in tonight an who sits will not be known until later in the day. There are 8 defensemen on the trip, with Chris Phillips being the only healthy body left home. Michael Sdao was brought up from the Binghamton group to take his place, and may play. What we do know is that Robin Lehner is expected to go the distance in goal, backed up by Andrew Hammond.
Remember the days when almost no pre-season games were televised, and if they were it was on local cable? It wasn’t that long ago, and now if a game isn’t broadcast, there is a mutiny. Good luck trying to find this game on TV, as the only option appears to be LeafsTV, which is unavailable in Ottawa. I’m not sure if Centre Ice will have the game and if so, if it will be on in the Ottawa region.