On a beautiful, sunny Saturday in Ottawa, the Toronto Maple Leafs are making a stop in the Nations Capital and the Ottawa Senators will host the final home game of their long home stand. Ottawa has won 3 of their 4 games during this home stand, and they can improve to 4 of 5 with a win tonight.
This Northeast Battle of Ontario match up is always a great game. The atmosphere is always electric in whatever building these teams play in. Toronto currently sits in 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings, two points behind Ottawa. With a win, Toronto will overtake Ottawa’s 5th spot, and the positions will be flipped.
It was announced yesterday that Jason Spezza may not return for the Playoffs, which is always a bummer. However, with Ottawa’s new chemistry, it doesn’t look like it will faze them.
Toronto is looking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 04-05 lockout, and with a win tonight, it gives them a tremendous edge over the 9th place New York Islanders. With revived trade talks with the Vancouver Canucks, this roster may not be the same when the playoffs roll around.
Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel are still leading the Maple Leafs in points, with support from hard workers such as James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak. Dion Phaneuf and Jake Gardiner are being workhorses, usually being on the ice for more than 20 minutes a game.
Fun Fact of the day: Ottawa is the only NHL team without a player with 10 or more goals. Now, with their current record, it shows their depth is off the charts. Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson and Jakob Sillfverberg all lead the team with 8 goals.
For Toronto to win, they have to match the grittiness of the Senators. Everyone knows Ottawa won’t be making flashy plays, so they need to get down and dirty in the corner and win battles.
Ottawa can tie up the season series by stopping Kadri and Kessel. They have been playing great hockey so far, and Ottawa will need to carefully match up against these two stars.
CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada will be broadcasting this game and you can see the latest installment of the Battle of Ontario at 7:00 PM.