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Game 53 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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Round 2 of the Battle of Ontario goes down tonight.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Following what may be their worst performance of the season, the Ottawa Senators (19-28-5) will look to rebound in the 6ix tonight, as they take on the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs (32-17-3). This will be their first meeting since October 6th, Ottawa’s second game of the season.

The Senators are in the midst of a four-game losing streak, most recently falling 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings, in what was a lacklustre effort. This will be their first game in four days.

The Leafs, meanwhile, have won two in a row. They’e coming off a 6-1 drubbing of the struggling Anaheim Ducks, Monday night.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30ET, and you can catch this one on Rogers’ Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360, and TVA Sports. As always, Dean Brown and Gord Wilson will have the call on TSN1200, and TSN1050 as well as Sportsnet 590 will also feature radio broadcasts.

The Sens, and it pains me that I have to specify this, will go 12&6 tonight. Christian Jaros and Mikkel Boedker are both sidelined due to injury, and RW Jack Rodewald will draw into the lineup after his call-up from Belleville. D Cody Goloubef, also recalled from Belleville, appears to be the healthy scratch tonight. Craig Anderson starts in goal.

Expect the Ottawa lineup to look something like this:

Dzingel - Duchene - Ryan
Tkachuk - White - Stone
Smith - Pageau - Paajarvi
Balcers - Tierney - Rodewald

Chabot - DeMelo
Lajoie - Ceci
Borowiecki - Harpur


Anderson (starter)
Nilsson

Game Notes:

  • Christian Wolanin, not on recall from Belleville, is likely not playing with the big club tonight due to injury. Wolanin suffered a nasty charley horse on this gruesome looking hit from Nathan Walker on Sunday:

Walker was suspended one game for the incident.

  • Guy Boucher told the media today that Brady Tkachuk is one of the best kids he’s ever coached. This will be Chucky’s first game against the Leafs, and personally, I can’t wait to watch him make some new friends tonight.
  • Rudolfs Balcers has looked like full-fledged NHLer on this call-up. He has a goal and an assist in nine games, but his speed and offensive instincts have been on full-display with plenty of scoring chances. A line with Chris Tierney and Rodewald might compliment his speed and wicked shot nicely.
  • A lot of people weren’t thrilled with the Jack Rodewald call-up, but it seems like the right move. Boucher says he’s apparently been he most consistent forward in Belleville, and I like his game. On top of that, with Boedker down, it’s better to recall a natural winger rather than having Logan Brown or Drake Batherson called up to play the wing. They’re developing well with the B-Sens, and putting up solid numbers, so it’s not a bad idea to leave them where they are for now. Rodewald has 34 points in 38 games in the AHL.
  • Broadcast legend Bob Cole is in the building tonight, and it could be the last Leafs game he ever calls, so make sure you don’t miss it.
  • Leafs’ star Auston Matthews will be playing his first game post-$58.17M contract extension. Yikes.
  • If you can bear to have a look at the Toronto lineup, you can find it at Left Wing Lock.

As always, here are some stats. Courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Anaheim Ducks
Ottawa Senators Anaheim Ducks
Value Rank Value Rank
3.08 12th 2.26 31st
3.75 31st 3.15 21st
29.6 24th 27.1 31st
36.3 31st 34.2 29th
20.8 16th 14.2 29th
76.6 27th 79.5 17th
43.71 31st 45.72 29th
44.31 31st 45.20 30th

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Winnipeg Jets
Ottawa Senators Winnipeg Jets
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 24 Mark Scheifele 27
Assists Mark Stone 31 Blake Wheeler 36
Points Mark Stone 54 Blake Wheeler 65
Shots Thomas Chabot 182 Patrik Laine 182
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 24:00 Dustin Byfuglien 24:32