Game 48 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

The Ottawa Senators are making the trip down the 401 to meet with their Ontario rivals in Toronto.

January is coming to an end and the Ottawa Senators are still looking for more consistency in their game as they head to Toronto for a clash with the Leafs. The two Atlantic Division teams currently sit second and seventh in the division, respectively, and the gap in overall play throughout the season is large.

With Ridly Greig getting into his second NHL game and coming off a strong team win against the Islanders on Wednesday night, the Sens will be looking to get on track and trying to make a name for themselves as the trade deadline approaches.

According to the morning skate at Scotiabank Arena this morning, it appears the Sens will head into action tonight with the same lineup they used on Wednesday - meaning Greig will continue to centre a line featuring his childhood idol, Claude Giroux.

Partway through the games against New York, Cam Talbot left the ice with what appeared to be a lower body injury. DJ Smith later confirmed the veteran netminder wouldn’t see any starts before the league takes a break for the All Star activities. As such, Kevin Mandolese was recalled from Belleville. With this news, Anton Forsberg will certainly be getting the start tonight and will also play tomorrow when the Sens head back to the Canadian Tire Centre to face Montreal.

Game Notes

  • Anton Forsberg will face Matt Murray in the Leafs net. While Sens fans love to give Toronto a hard time for acquiring the netminder who struggled to find consistency and success in Ottawa, Murray has a 0.911 SV% this season with Toronto and the team can’t take him lightly.
  • Speaking of Forsberg, the Swedish netminder has had a rocky time in January but is coming off a stellar performance in relief of the injured Cam Talbot on Wednesday. Forsberg stopped 21 of the 22 shots the Isles threw at him for a tidy 0.955 SV%. The Sens will need their goaltender to come up big against the high octane Leafs offence.
  • Brady Tkachuk comes into this game leading the Sens with six points in his last five games - but all of those points came two games ago. After not registering a point against the Islanders or Jets, and the added fun of the Battle of Ontario, I’d expect Tkachuk to be a major factor tonight.
  • Toronto has a number of offensive weapons but they’ll be without Auston Matthews tonight - and for the next few weeks - as he sustained a knee injury against the Rangers this week. While Sens fans may rejoice at the news of Toronto’s premiere goalscorer missing time, they still have to worry about the likes of Mitch Marner and William Nylander who are both pacing fantastic seasons. Nylander, in fact, comes into tonight’s game with ten points in his last five contests. Missing Matthews hurts but Toronto won’t be without firepower.
  • If there’s some way Ottawa can make a game of this contest, it’ll be through special teams as the Sens fourth ranked powerplay will lineup against the Leafs 16th ranked penalty kill. In his pregame media availability against the Islanders, Smith talked about playing with speed and if the team is looking to draw penalties against the Leafs, it’s going to be by using their speed, not trying to bait the Leafs into getting chippy./

Game 48 Player Stats - Ottawa @ Toronto

Game 41OttawaSenatorsTorontoMaple Leafs
GoalsTim Stützle20William Nylander26
AssistsBrady Tkachuk30Mitchell Marner 39
PointsBrady Tkachuk47Mitchell Marner57
ShotsBrady Tkachuk197Auston Matthews200
Time on Ice/GPThomas Chabot25:55Morgan Reilly22:44

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