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Game 16 Preview + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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Looking to make it two wins in a row tonight!

NHL: JAN 15 Maple Leafs at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators may have the worst record in the National Hockey League, but they’re 2-2 in the games that count, i.e. those against the Leafs and Habs. They will look to take a second game off Toronto tonight, while also going for two straight wins for the first time this season.

Both teams played two days ago, with Ottawa beating Winnipeg 2-1 on the back of a 31-save performance from Marcus Hogberg, and Toronto losing to Montreal by that same score. While yesterday was a great sign for the team’s goaltending, there still exists the other issue of the players’ inability to finish on their chances. GM Pierre Dorion attempted to remedy this by re-acquiring Ryan Dzingel, the team’s leading goalscorer from three seasons ago, on Saturday. However, he’ll be in quarantine until March 1st, so any amount of increased scoring today will have to come from players breaking out of slumps, such as Drake Batherson, who has shot 2.6% this season. And there’s no better opponent to do it against than the Maple Leafs, am I right? Especially since tonight’s tilt is the start of a three-game series of the Battle of Ontario.

Here’s how the team lined up during the morning skate, with Marcus Hogberg starting in goal:

Tkachuk - Tierney - C. Brown
Paul - White - Dadonov
Stützle - Stepan - Batherson
Anisimov - Norris - Watson

Chabot - Zaitsev
Reilly - Zub
Wolanin - Gudbranson

Game Notes:

  • It’s not just Batherson for whom the puck hasn’t gone in. Aside from Chabot, no other Sens defensemen have scored a goal this year. Most of these guys aren’t necessarily known for their scoring touch but on 98 shots? That’s a bit hard to believe.
  • Tim Stützle has gone pointless in five games since his three-point performance against the Habs. He hasn’t been as noticeable as in past games, but that may be a good thing, as there have also been very few egregious mistakes that are common for players his age. This has translated into improved on-ice metrics; in his last three games, he’s posted a 5v5 xGF% of 90.36, 69.96, and 51.98.
  • The Leafs’ power-play is fourth-best in the league, so the key tonight is to stay disciplined. The Senators have done well recently in this regard, only taking four minor penalties in their last three games.
  • With Matt Murray still out, Joey Daccord has been recalled from the taxi squad, in order to back up Hogberg.
  • Follow this link if you’re curious about how the Leafs are lining up in tonight’s game.

Stats (per NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick.com):

Team Stats

Game 16 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Game 16 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.13 29th 3.53 4th
Goals Against/GP 4 31st 2.53 24th
Shots/GP 31.9 3rd 28.8 23rd
Shots Against/GP 30.8 21st 27.7 7th
Powerplay % 13.1 25th 34.1 3rd
Penalty Kill % 74.6 24th 76.9 21st
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 48.02 22nd 51.34 11th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 48.41 21st 51.34 14th

Player Stats

Game 16 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Game 16 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Category Player # Player #
Goals Tkachuk, Dadonov, Stützle 4 Auston Matthews 11
Assists Reilly, Zaitsev 6 Mitch Marner 15
Points Brady Tkachuk 9 Mitch Marner 22
Shots Brady Tkachuk 64 Auston Matthews 60
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 25:16 Morgan Rielly 23:54

Be sure to tune in at 7:00 PM EST on TSN4, TSN5, RDS, or TSN 1200 (radio)!