Game 18: Ottawa Senators v. Toronto Maple Leafs

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Tonight's the second installment of the Battle of Ontario this season, after the Senators took care of game one by a 2-1 score. Most have to like the Senators chances in the game, given the Leafs' record so far this season, but whatever happens, one losing streak will end: Toronto`s on a three-game skid, the Sens lost last game.

A couple of game notes and things to look out for

  • At 0-3-2, Vesa Toskala (who is starting for the Leafs tonight) does not have a win this season. I seriously hope the Senators aren't his slump-buster.
  • The Leafs, surprisingly, have the NHL's third-best powerplay, running at 25.3 percent (thank Tomas Kaberle for that success). Considering the Senators' penchant for giving their opponents plenty of chances, that could come to bite them tonight. Ottawa's PP is 24th at 15.8 percent.
  • One the other hand, the Leafs are dead last in the league in penalty killing, at 71.2 percent. Ottawa's PK has plummeted to 13th at 81.6 percent.
  • Mike Fisher leads the Senators in powerplay goals with five. He's the only Senator with more than one. Let's make sure he stays on the top PP unit, 'kay?
  • Since being held off the scoresheet in his first game as a Leaf, Phil Kessel is on a five-game point-scoring streak (4G, 3A).
  • In his career against the Leafs, Daniel Alfredsson has 61P (29G, 32A) in 62GP. With a two-point effort tonight, he could be averaging a point-per-game against them all-time.
  • Jason Spezza has had his share of success against the Leafs, with 44P (9G, 35A) in 36GP against Toronto.
  • Alex Kovalev is also better than a point per game against Toronto, with 65P (26G, 39A) in 58GP.

Darren's Take: Being a BC boy, I really don't get drawn in by the Battle of Ontario storyline. That being said, this is still a game against a division rival, which means it's certainly an important one. A win against the Leafs not only gets the team 2 points (and prevents the Leafs from getting them), but will give a great deal of momentum to a team that desperately needs it. When the Sens got their first win of the season against the Leafs back in October, it kick-started the team on a run that saw them win 5 of 6 games. Maybe a convincing win tonight could help the Sens do that again.

As always, GameThread kicks off an hour before puck drop, and we'll be engaged in some terrific in-game discussion throughout. You're cordially invited to join in.

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