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Game 19 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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This three-game series will have its winner, tonight.

Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

After two tightly-contested games, the latest instalment of the Battle of Ontario will decide the victors of this three-game set. The Ottawa Senators (4-13-1), winners of Monday’s game, will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (12-3-2) again tonight, after being bested in a close finish yesterday evening.

The Leafs narrowly beat the Sens by a final of 2-1, after Ottawa’s epic 6-5 comeback victory on Monday. Somewhat surprisingly, the Senators have taken the fight to Toronto for much of the past two games, carrying the play, and at times putting the Leafs on their heels. If this continues, expect a hard-fought finale, tonight.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm EST, and you can catch this one on Sportsnet Ontario, TSN5, and RDS. As always, Dean Brown and Gord Wilson will have the radio call on TSN 1200.

Given the quick turnaround, and impressive performances yielded by the past two games, it would seem like a safe bet that D.J. Smith will ice the same lineup as last night, provided everyone is healthy. The lone caveat is that Artem Anisimov was assigned to the team’s taxi squad, today, and Matthew Peca was recalled to the NHL roster. It stands to reason that Peca will see his first action tonight.

The starting goaltender is always a question mark, but with Matt Murray having played last night, and Marcus Hogberg’s recent turnaround, it seems likely that the latter will start tonight’s contest.

Expect Ottawa’s lineup to fill out something like this.

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

Chabot - Zaitsev
Reilly - Zub
Brannstrom - Gudbranson

Hogberg (starter?)
Murray

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

Player Stats

Game 19 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Game 19 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Category Player # Player #
Goals Evgenii Dadonov 6 Auston Matthews 14
Assists Josh Norris 7 Mitch Marner 16
Points Brady Tkachuk 11 Mitch Marner 23
Shots Brady Tkachuk 75 Auston Matthews 67
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 25:29 Morgan Rielly 23:47
Game 19 Player Stats

Team Stats

Game 19 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Game 19 Ottawa Senators Toronto Maple Leafs
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.28 29th 3.53 4th
Goals Against/GP 3.94 31st 2.65 9th
Shots/GP 31.7 4th 29.3 24th
Shots Against/GP 31.4 21st 27.9 6th
Powerplay % 11.9 27th 32.7 3rd
Penalty Kill % 75.0 24th 79.3 19th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 50.62 14th 49.32 16th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 48.91 20th 50.91 16th
Game 18 Team Stats

Game Notes:

  • Matthew Peca’s insertion into the lineup could provide a bit of a boost to the fourth line. While he’s far from a play-driver, he has more upside than Anisimov at this point, and can move his feet better, as well.
  • Keep an eye on the tandem of Tim Stützle and Drake Batherson. They’ve generated a ton of offence together over the past couple games, and should probably have a few more goals to their credit.
  • Much to the chagrin of Leafs fans, it looks like Michael Hutchinson will be starting in goal, tonight. Brace yourselves
  • I hope there are some changes made to Ottawa’s second powerplay unit. Anisimov and Derek Stepan just weren’t cutting it. I’d like to see Nick Paul or Chris Tierney get a look.
  • Artem Zub has been phenomenal, and so has the 13-36-63 line. Definitely players to watch