Game 30 preview: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Ottawa Senators

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs on 7 December 2013.

The Ottawa Senators look to finish off their three game road trip on a positive note when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs in Ottawa tonight. Toronto holds the last playoff spot in the east and are currently 7 points ahead of the Senators. While the are still 52 games left, Ottawa has fallen to 13th out of 16 eastern conference teams. A regulation loss would place them nine points behind Ottawa while a regulation win would bring them to within five. It is pretty close to the season being on the line tonight.

Craig Anderson will start and Matt Kassian could play as well. Here are the lines.

Hoffman - Turris - Ryan
MacArthur - Spezza - Condra
Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek
Greening / Kassian - Smith - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Corvo
Cowen - Wiercioch

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for tonight:

  • Robin Lehner hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been great either recently. Craig Anderson will look for a second consecutive solid positive.
  • The Senators are 6-2-3 when my good friend Matt Kassian plays.
  • Erik Karlsson is without a point in consecutive games for only the second time this season but he was fantastic against Tampa Bay.
  • Ottawa has outshot the opposition and won the crucial fancy stats battle in five straight games. They have deserved more than four points in those games.
  • Speaking of that, the Leafs have a lot of undeserved points thanks to incredible goaltending. The latest was a 48 save performance from Jonathan Bernier. The Leafs have the worst shot difference in the NHL.
  • Phil Kessel has ripped the Sens apart on many occasions. He's currently third in the NHL in shots.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Toronto
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 14 Phil Kessel 15
Assists Erik Karlsson 20 Cody Franson 14
Points Erik Karlsson 27 Phil Kessel 27
Shots Jason Spezza 87 Phil Kessel 117
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:41 Dion Phaneuf 24:08

Category Ottawa Toronto
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.86 8th 2.66 16th
Goals Against 3.17 26th 2.66 16th
Corsi Close % 49.3% 16th 42.1% 29th
Fenwick Close % 48.1% 22nd 41.8% 29th
Shots For 32.5 4th 26.4 28th
Shots Against 34.4 27th 36.6 30th
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