Ottawa Senators Won’t Go Away, Search For Another 2 Points In Toronto


24 hours after a thrilling 4-3 OT win against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, the Ottawa Senators travel down Highway 401 to Toronto for this seasons final installment of the Battle of Ontario against the Maple Leafs.

Ottawa Senators


Toronto Maple Leafs

Game Time: 7:30pm EST
Air Canada Centre, Toronto
TV: City TV, TVA

Matchup History

This is the fifth and final meeting between the two Ontario teams. Toronto came from two goals down to win their last meeting on March 28th on the heels of a hat-trick from Tyler Bozak. With the Maple Leafs taking last years series 3-1, the Senators will be trying to win this years series and inch 2 points closer to a wildcard spot. The Senators have gone 8-1-1 over their past 10 on the road, while the Maple Leafs are closing out a very disappointing season with a number of questions still unanswered going into the off season.

Players To Watch

Clarke MacArthur, OTT – MacArthur has been red hot since returning on March 28th from a concussion which kept him out for 18 games. MacArthur has registered 5 points in 5 games (2G,3A) while returning to his spot on the top line with Kyle Turris and Mark Stone. The chemistry between these three guys is undeniable, and I look for MacArthur to have a big game against his former team.

James van Riemsdyk, TOR – JVR has registered 5 points in his last 5 games as well (2G,3A), and with the Maple Leafs playing out the season with uncertainty swirling, I expect JVR to continue to ensure that he returns to the blue and white next year. Its obvious that the Leafs will be in rebuild mode once the season ends, but I do expect van Riemsdyk to be one of the players the team keeps around going into next season.

Who Needs to Step Up

Bobby Ryan, OTT – Ryan has been nearly invisible over his past 10 games, registering 5 points with his only goal being scored way back on March 19th against the Boston Bruins. The Senators haven’t needed to rely on goals from Ryan during their current push to the playoffs, but it would be nice to have Ryan comin’ in hot if the Senators are able to squeeze into the playoffs. It would also fair well if David Cameron returned Mike Hoffman to the Zibanejad-Ryan line, as their possession numbers have dipped since Hoffman was demoted to the 4th line.

Anybody, TOR – Its hard to pick one specific player in the Maple Leafs line up who needs to show the management team that they deserve to be there next year. It could be Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri, Johnathan Bernier or even Joffrey Lupul, but someone in that leadership core needs to take the reins and show some commitment to playing out the season with resolve and self respect.

Three Keys To The Game

1. Keep your foot on the gas – Recently the Senators have had a hard time maintaining leads. Last night The Senators squandered a 3 goal lead against the Washington Capitals and gave up two 2-goal leads against the Maples Leafs last Saturday in the 4-3 OT loss. If the Senators are able to come out and gain a quick lead they need to maintain the pressure throughout the game.

The Senators have a difficult time playing with a lead and tend to sit back and play not to lose instead of continuing to push the pressure and try to extend their lead. With the Senators seemingly needing to go 3-1 over their last 4 games, it will require an uptempo game for 60 minutes.

2. Have a productive powerplay – Although the Senators went 2-for-3 on the powerplay last night against the Capitals, they’ll need to continue to have productive chances to come out on top again tonight. Of course we’d love to see the Senators score on their PP chances, but they also need some sustained pressure with the man advantage to create some confidence in the group. Prior to Saturdays game against Washington, the Senators had gone 5-for-50 on the powerplay. They’ll need to increase those numbers to have success going down the stretch.

3. Stay out of the box – The Maple leafs still have some guys who can score on the PP. The Senators will want to play with discipline and limit the Maple Leafs powerplay units chances of gaining momentum. We’ve seen before that this Senators team tends to take penalties at some awful times during the game and the last thing they need to do is give the Maples Leafs any glimmer of hope of winning this game with special teams.


Scoreboard Watching

The past month has seen the Senators play almost every game as a do-or-die. Tonight match up will be no different. The Senators will be in tough against a Maple Leafs team that would want nothing more than to put a wrench in their provincial rivals playoff chances with a win tonight in Toronto. If the Senators can come out with the same intensity they had last night against the Capitals, they should be able to gain 2 very-very important points.

Two games you’ll also want to keep an eye on today leading up to the Senators game at 7:30pm are the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers (12:30pm, SN) and the Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings (7:00pm).

With a Senators win, and a loss by both or either of the Penguins or Red Wings the Sens could close within 1 point of the wildcard by the end of the night. With all 3 teams having 3 games left, hold on to your seats, this last week of the regular season is gonna be Sen-sational!

Next: 4 Games To Go, Boston Still Ottawa's Target

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