What: Game #11 of the 2011-12 Regular Season
Where: Scotiabank Place, Kanata
When: 7:30pm on Sportsnet
Tickets: Check out TiqIQ to see if there are any deals worth buying.
Last Matchup: Leafs won 6-5 after almost blowing a 5-1 lead, Phil Kessel picked up his first hat trick as a Leaf.
Tonight, two of the hottest teams in the NHL will be facing off in the hinterlands of Ottawa. The Senators have won five games in a row, a move they will regret when they finish 24th, and the Leafs are trying to sustain their time atop of the Northeast Division. Both teams played Saturday as the Senators came back from 4-1 down to beat the Rangers in a shootout and the Leafs beat back the league-leading Penguins 4-3 on the back of great performances by Jonas Gustavsson, Dion Phaneuf, Tim Connolly, and Sens-killer supreme Phil Kessel.
|2011 - Jonas Gustavsson||5||280||3||2||18||3.86||158||140||.886||0|
James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen just tweeted that Robin Lehner will be making his season debut tonight. Meanwhile, Jonas Gustavsson has put together back-to-back strong games. He's stopped 62 of the last 67 shots he's faced for a .925sv%.
Among the forwards, two of the league's top point-getters will take the ice.
|2011 - Phil Kessel||10||10||8||18||6||4||1||0||3||1||34||29.4%|
|2011 - Jason Spezza||11||7||8||15||-1||4||3||0||1||Infinite||36||19.4%|
In their first meeting of the year, Kessel took advantage of the slowness of Jared Cowen and Sergei Gonchar to pot a hat trick. He is tied with Dave Andreychuk and Daniel Marois with the most franchise goals in October. I don't care what Jason Spezza did but it probably came on the powerplay and involved psychotic giggling. The Senators other main offensive threat Daniel Alfredsson is out after taking a filthy elbow in the head away from the play by the Rangers' Wojtek Wolski which will no doubt result in a Shanaban. He's been replaced by femme fatale Nikita Filatov.
Otherwise, the Leafs shouldn't have any changes to their lineup. Chris Neil could always be taught a lesson or two but when he's not interested in going to class then it's best to find a better way to get the message across. The Leafs have succeeded in the past two games in part because they have not had to shelter guys like Rosehill and Orr. Better to beat up the Senators with goals than with fists. The Leafs have done enough of the latter for a while. The Leafs will be focused on extending their 12-5-2 record against the Senators since 2008-2009.