Game 19 preview: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators look for a season high fourth consecutive win when they technically host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.
After Erik Karlsson was injured late in the second period, the Senators sputtered to a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh followed by a 3-0 loss in Toronto. Since then however, Ottawa has won three consecutive games, with two of them coming in shootouts. The streak is Ottawa's longest since they started the season 3-0 in dominant fashion. Remember those days with Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson in the lineup? Sad.
With Craig Anderson injured, Ben Bishop will make the start and Robin Lehner will back him up. Also with Stephane Da Costa sent back to Binghamton, Jim O'Brien will return to the lineup. Here are the lines from Nicolas St-Pierre.
Silfverberg - Turris - Alfredsson
Greening - Zibanejad - Condra
Dziurzynski - Smith - Neil
Daugavins - Grant - O'Brien
Wiercioch - Gonchar
Methot - Gryba
Phillips - Benoit
Here are some things to discuss for tonight:
- How will the team cope with Anderson's injury added to the ones of Spezza and Karlsson? Losing the NHL's leader in save percentage is tough, but at least we have capable replacements in Bishop and Lehner. This is a lot easier to swallow than losing Spezza or Karlsson.
- The 3-0 loss to Toronto was a pretty even, albeit boring, game and it could have gone either way. Paul MacLean described the Leafs opening goal as going 'bingo bongo'.
- Both the Leafs and Senators have a chance to be tied for first in the conference on points if results go their way.
- MacLean chose to use the Turris line against the Gaborik line on Thursday night, after using the Zack Smith line against John Tavares. Which one will he use against the Kessel line tonight?
- Ottawa has a 7-1-2 record at home this year, allowing only 14 goals in those 10 games. The Senators have twice managed to lose at home despite allowing only one goal, in a 1-0 loss to Winnipeg and a 2-1 shootout loss to the Penguins.
- Sergei Gonchar had been a decent second pairing defenceman, but I am not sure he is capable of playing on the first pairing. Still, someone has to be sacrificial goat I suppose.
- Yours truly will be joined some other members of Silver Seven tonight at the game. We will do our best to make some noise, hopefully the Jacke song picks up some steam tonight.