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Game 52 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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After a tight 5-3 loss last night to the Caps, the Sens head down the 401 to face the playoff-chasing Leafs

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like forever since the last time these two teams faced each other. Brady Tkachuk’s season-opening goal led to a fun first period of the season for D.J. Smith’s Ottawa Senators, but it was Mike Babcock’s (!) Leafs that came out victorious at the end of the evening.

A lot has happened since then, with a coaching change in Toronto and some different looking rosters for both teams due to injuries and call-ups. However, the high-flying Leafs currently find themselves in the same position as the bottom-feeding Senators: out of a playoff spot.

Here’s how we expect the Sens to line up as they hope to chip away at Toronto’s playoff chances:

Tkachuk - Pageau - Brown
Namestnikov - Tierney - Duclair
Ennis - White - Batherson
Chlapik - Anisimov - Sabourin

Chabot - Hainsey
Reilly - DeMelo
Borowiecki - Zaitsev

Anderson (starter)
Hogberg

Here’s what we’re expecting from Sheldon Keefe, who faces the Sens for the first time in his young career:

Hyman - Matthews - Marner
Kerfoot - Tavares - Nylander
Johnsson - Engvall - Kapanen
Moore - Gauthier - Spezza

Muzzin - Holl
Dermott - Barrie
Sandin - Ceci

Hutchinson (starter)
Andersen

Game Notes:

  • As Craig Anderson nears the end of his illustrious career, one of the games I’ll always remember is his Sens debut against the Leafs in their building. He’ll likely need to put on a similar performance for the Sens to have a chance in this one, especially coming off of a hard fought first leg of a back-to-back.
  • Drake Batherson looked like the Sens best forward last night, and his line with Colin White and Tyler Ennis will be an interesting matchup for a Leafs team that’s been struggling with injuries on defence.
  • What worked in the season opener is when the Sens were able to use their team speed to skate with the Leafs, and worked to chase pucks in the offensive zone. Connor Brown and Anthony Duclair will be pivotal on their lines to keep pucks in front of them so they aren’t chasing Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and Nylander.
  • So far, the Sens have trended as a team who can allow quantity against (CA/60) but keep quality (xGA/60) at an average level. The Leafs are one of the few teams in the league that generate an above average number of both.
  • The Panthers (Atlantic#3), Leafs (out), Canes (WC#2), and Flyers (out) are all tied with 61 points. Columbus (WC#1) and the Islanders (Metro#3) are just ahead with 62 and 63 points respectively. It’ll be interesting to watch what these teams do at the deadline to try and squeak in.
  • On the flip-side, four of the league’s top-five teams in terms of standings points are in the East.

Here are tonight’s pregame stats, courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Category Player # Player #
Goals Anthony Duclair 23 Anze Kopitar 21
Assists Thomas Chabot 33 Anze Kopitar 41
Points Brady Tkachuk 43 Anze Kopitar 62
Shots Brady Tkachuk 258 Jeff Carter 182
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 26:02 Drew Doughty 25:51

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Arizona Coyotes
Ottawa Senators Arizona Coyotes
# Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.63 26th 2.71 23rd
Goals against/GP 3.32 28th 2.68 5th
Shots/GP 29.9 24th 31.3 18th
Shots against/GP 33.6 29th 32.3 22nd
Powerplay % 14.6 28th 18.8 20th
Penalty Kill % 78.8 20th 82.8 7th
Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted) 47.23 27th 48.07 26th
Fenwick % (5v5, SVA) 47.71 27th 48.19 24th