Maple Leafs-Senators Preview
The first Battle of Ontario between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators was delayed more than two weeks due to tragic circumstances, but the provincial rivals finally meet Sunday night in Kanata, Ontario.
This game was originally scheduled to be played Oct. 22, but was postponed following the shooting death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. In addition to the weekend pre-game ceremonies by home teams, all Canadian squads are sporting red poppy flower decals on their helmets ahead of Remembrance Day on Tuesday.
Toronto (7-5-2) picked up points for the fifth time in six games (4-1-1) after rallying to a 5-4 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Roman Polak and Leo Komarov scored 6:59 apart in the third period for the Maple Leafs, who squandered a two-goal lead in the first-period before regrouping.
''It's always nice to score,'' Komarov said after scoring his first of the season. ''But I know I'm not going to score that much. It feels great to see the puck go in, but I think the win feels much better.''
The Maple Leafs won the first three games between the Atlantic Division rivals last season, including two by shootout as Phil Kessel registered four goals and three assists. He had a power-play goal in Saturday's win and has four goals and seven assists in a six-game point streak.
Ottawa (7-3-3) has a chance to take seven points from its four-game homestand after a 2-1 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Saturday night. Chris Neil scored on the power play in the first period, but the Sens were thwarted by Ondrej Pavelec, who finished with 37 saves and turned aside all six shootout attempts.
"I enjoyed the game," coach Paul MacLean said. "I thought both teams played well and hard, but at the end of the day, they played a little bit better in the shootout."
The Senators are the only team without a regulation loss at home, going 4-0-3. They should have some reinforcements for this game as defenseman Chris Phillips and forwards Bobby Ryan and Alex Chiasson are all expected to be available after missing Saturday's loss due to injuries.
MacLean did not announce if Craig Anderson would get a fourth straight start Sunday. He has a 0.65 goals-against average while going 2-0-1 with one shutout on the homestand, turning aside 102 of 104 shots.
"He (Anderson) has been the main reason for our five points so far," captain Erik Karlsson said. "He played great today and deserved the win but we couldn't put it home for him and we'll get him back next time."
Anderson also was in net for Ottawa's lone win over Toronto last season, making 28 saves in a 1-0 victory at home in the most recent meeting April 12.
Karlsson is tied for the team lead with 10 points, but the defenseman has been held to one goal and one assist in his last seven games versus Toronto.