Dec 7, 2013; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators right wing Chris Neil (25) and Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Frazer McLaren (38) fight in the second period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Game 55 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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The Senators take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto, in the first game of a three game road trip.

senators logo(24-20-10, 58 points) 5th Atlantic Division

VS

leafs logo(29-21-6) 3rd Atlantic Division

7:00 PM

Air Canada Centre

TV: CBC; Radio: TSN1200

MATCHUP HISTORY

This will be meeting number three between these two teams. The Leafs have won both matchups with the Senators this season in the shootout.

 

LAST GAMES

The Senators are coming off of a 5-3 win at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. The Leafs were in action on Thursday night as well, in a 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Clarke MacArthur, OTT: The former Leaf has found great success as a Senator, including games against his old team. In the two games between the Ontario rivals, MacArthur has a goal, an assist, and sports a nice +/- of +3.

James Van Riemsdyk, TOR: JVR is having the best season of his life. He has now passed his highest goal and point totals set in 10-11, and did so in 21 less games.

 

TOP 3 STORYLINES

1. Avoid the Shootout – It’s no secret that the Senators have struggled in the shootout this season, with a record of 2-6. The Leafs, on the other hand, have a record of 9-4 in the shootout. Two of those nine shootout wins came in the two games  against the Senators earlier this season. Those nine shootout wins also represent 31% of their total wins this season. That’s nearly every third win.

2. Must Win – We’ve heard the term “Must Win” a few times this season, and most people have ignored it, saying that there are a ton of games left in the season. Well, we’re at the must win stage. The Leafs are only six points ahead of the Senators, and they’ve played two game more than Ottawa. A win in regulation would leave only two wins worth of points between the two teams, which is exactly how many games more the Senators have remaining in their schedule than the Leafs.

3. Beast Mode – The current goalie situation is completely different from what Senators fans thought it would be at this point back in November: Craig Anderson has been outplaying Robin Lehner. Now, Lehner only had two starts in the month of January, one of which was a shutout, and the other is one that no one wants to remember. Out of the six games the Senators play in February, only one of them is against a western team. That team is the St. Louis Blues. So you want to beat all of the teams in your conference fighting for a playoff spot, but you also want a chance to win against the Blues. Paul MacLean is in for some tough choices this month.

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