As the season drags slowly to an end (21 more days till the draft lottery!) the Leafs, for whatever reason, still have two more games against the Senators. This is one of them.
There isn't much to analyze any more about the Leafs' actual play, or the significance of the game, or what this means for individual players. But there are still plenty of narratives! We never seem to run out of narratives. Here are a few storylines to watch:
Kadri returns from suspension. After his illegal hit on the Oilers' Matt Fraser, Kadri was suspended for four games. Having him out certainly helped the tank, although having him back probably won't hurt it that much. Kadri's practice quotes suggest he's restless and raring to go, so we may see a burst of offensive energy from him. But the biggest question in my mind is: how much of the intermission panel will be devoted to criticizing Kadri? Stay tuned!! (Or not.)
No Hamburglar. Andrew Hammond is out with a lower-body injury. Craig Anderson, previously out with a hand injury, will draw back in to this game. On the one hand, this means the Leafs are safe from being pelted with hamburgers tonight. On the other hand, if Anderson is rusty, the Leafs might actually score on him.
Reimer starts again. Starting Reimer against Ottawa is generally a smart move - he's 10-3-1 lifetime against the Sens, with a .934 SV% and three shutouts. But at the last game against Ottawa, he gave up 3 goals on 18 shots and was pulled. It seems that Horachek has been quick to pull goalies lately. Bernier was pulled against the Panthers after giving up 3 goals on 16 shots. Will Reimer have another poor start and get replaced? Or will he continue his incredible dominance against the Sens?
The race for the last wild card spot. The Sens are just barely hanging on to the last wild card spot. They pushed the Bruins out, and have the tiebreaker in ROW, but they're only in the spot because they have a game-in-hand-- the Bruins and the Sens have an identical number of points. As I type this, the Bruins are up 3-0 against the Rangers. If Boston wins that game, and Ottawa wins theirs, Ottawa will keep a hold on the wild card spot. If Ottawa loses, the spot goes back to the Bruins.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't want the Sens in the playoffs, but I want the Bruins out of the race so badly that I'm making an exception. The Sens and Leafs should be united in their goals tonight: to get a Sens win.