Toronto Maple Leafs (18-13-3-5) vs. Ottawa Senators (22-14-3-1)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 14, 2017
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
Lines: Ottawa -120/Toronto +100
Two quality teams will battle it out in Ottawa on Saturday, with the hosting Senators (3rd in Atlantic Division) coming off two huge wins, while the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs (5th in Atlantic) have recently written themselves back into the playoff contention…
The Leafs get beat by Montreal
Just before their mandatory 5-game break, which will lead the team straight into a difficult back-to-back road stretch against the New York Rangers on Friday before a game at the Ottawa Senators just 24 hours later, the Toronto Maple Leafs (18-13-8) lost two of their previous three outings. A convincing 4-2 win at the New Jersey Devils was sandwiched between a 6-5 overtime loss against the Washington Capitals and a 5-3 defeat versus the Montreal Canadiens. Just before that trio of fixtures the Leafs were cruising on a 5-game winning streak, effectively putting them back into the playoff contention. Toronto is heading into the upcoming schedule just six points off a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but with no less than five (!) games in hand.
The Maple Leafs are coming out of their holidays with rookie Auston Matthews on top of their scoring chart with 21 goals on 35 points. James van Riemsdyk has 33 points with 14 goals, while Nazem Kadri has netted the second highest amount of markers (16) on 25 points for the season. Toronto still has nine back-to-back sets remaining out of the league-high 18 overall this term, so back-up goalie Curtis McElhinney, acquired off waivers from Columbus, is definitely making his debut in one game or in the other. He has gone 2-1-2 for the year with the Blue Jackets with a 2.14 GAA and is 1-4-0 against Ottawa with a 2.96 GAA. Frederik Andersen, meanwhile, is 17-9-7 for the current campaign with a 2.69 GAA and has a 3-0-1 career record against the Senators with a 2.47 GAA.
The Sens batter the Penguins
Four straight losses between Dec. 27 – Jan. 7 were all that it took for the Ottawa Senators (22-14-4) to bounce back with a vengeance, beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Sunday before disposing of the champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, with a convincing final score of 4-1 just four days later. Bobby Ryan (8 goals, 15 points for the season) and Mike Hoffman (12 goals, 28 points) both netted on power play in the first period. Tom Pyatt got his 6th goal of the season in the second, taking his points’ total to 11 for the year, while Mark Stone netted his 13th of the year in the third for his 32nd point so far. Jean-Gabriel Pageau (4 goals, 14 points) registered an assist and won 8-of-12 face-offs against Sidney Crosby.
Goalie Mike Condo, who was acquired in a trade with the Penguins on Nov. 2, 2016, for a 5th-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, started his eighth consecutive game, making a total of 29 saves. He has now gone 10-6-3 for the current campaign with a 2.29 GAA and has recorded a 2-0-0 career record against Toronto with a 1.45 GAA. The Senators are currently 13th in the league with 48 points from 40 contests and one point behind 2nd-placed Boston in the Atlantic Division with five games in hand. They are netting the 9th lowest amount of goals per game (2.50), allow the 11th lowest amount in their defensive zone (2.55), rank 19th in power play with a 17.2% success rate and have the 9th best penalty kill with 83.3% efficiency.
- Maple Leafs are 0-5 in the last 5 meetings in Ottawa.
- Maple Leafs are 0-5 in the last 5 overall meetings with Senators.
- Senators are 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
The Maple Leafs have not been playing badly of late, despite losing two of their last three outings against two top teams in the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. They will, however, be heading into the clash in Ottawa just 24 after battling with the Rangers in New York. Besides, they haven’t been able to beat the Senators on the road since Nov. 9, 2014.