The Ottawa Senators knew this road trip was going to be a tough one as they set out to play 6 of 8 games away from the friendly confines of Scotiabank Place.
The Sens lost the first three in Boston, Philadelphia and Long Island but picked up a point in two of those games. Goals are extremely hard to come by for Paul MacLean’s team but the Sens are hoping the Battle of Ontario and a date with the Toronto Maple Leafs helps ignite their struggling offence.
The two teams have split the season series so far. The Leafs scored a 3-0 win back February 16 but the Senators answered back with a solid effort the following Saturday as Colin Greening scored late to give the Sens a 3-2 decision. Ottawa and Toronto will play two more times after tonight.
As much as it pains me to say it, the Leafs have actually been playing some pretty solid hockey of late. Randy Carlyle’s team has won 3 of their last 4 and have a 6-4-0 record in their past ten hockey games. Nazem Kadri continues to impress for Toronto, leading the Leafs with 23 points in 23 games. Zack Smith will have to keep a close eye on him again tonight.
Both the Sens and Leafs have racked up 28 points through 23 games but the Leafs have the edge in wins by a 14-12 margin.
The Senators should get a bit of an offensive boost tonight with the return of Milan Michalek from a knee injury and the addition of Mark Stone from Binghamton. Both guys have the ability to put the puck in the net- something the Sens have really struggled with since Erik Karlsson went down. Mark Stone will be making his regular season debut and will wear #16. Here is how Head Coach Paul MacLean lined his guys up at the morning skate.
Kaspars Daugavins and Jim O'Brien will be the healthy scratches. Ben Bishop get the start for the Sens while the Leafs are expected to counter with James Reimer. Puck drop is just after 7:00 PM with the game available on TSN and on the radio at the Team 1200.
GO SENS GO!