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Leafs vs. Sens Preview: Do the NHL 19 thing again

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NHL: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #53

Time: 7:30 PM ET

Location: Scotiabank Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Sportsnet, Sportsent360, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Silver Seven Sens

The destruction (or further destruction) of the Anaheim Ducks saw the Leafs win back-to-back games for the first time since their stretch of victories in the latter half of December. Getting victory three should be relatively simple as long as they do what we know they can do. And that ties in to a well-noted observation of the Leafs as the team has a knack of playing down to their opponent or not taking them seriously.

If the Ducks game was a preview to what’s coming tonight, then the Leafs should be ready to light Craig Anderson up for six goals. Possible bold statement to make, considering the Leafs lost their first match to Ottawa 3-5 at the beginning of the season, but that was then and this is now.

Auston Matthews has a brand spanking new contract, and he’ll want to put it to the test quickly. John Tavares is well on his way to hitting 40 goals for the first time in his career, after scoring his 31st on Monday. William Nylander is continuing to break out of his shell of darkness finding some good jam with Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown. And we all know Mitch Marner is waiting to do this again:

Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Auston Matthews - Kasperi Kapanen
Connor Brown - Nazem Kadri - William Nylander
Par Lindholm - Frederik Gauthier - Andreas Johnsson

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Jake Muzzin
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Ron Hainsey

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

The Senators are doing whatever they can to ensure their first-round pick doesn’t turn into Jack Hughes. Unfortunately, they’ve lost four games in-a-row and sit last in the NHL with 43 points.

Lines were based on what was seen at practice. Ottawa recalled Jack Rodewald and Cody Goloubef from the Belleville Senators this morning and it’s likely the former subs in on the fourth line.

Senators

Forward Lines

Ryan Dzingel - Matt Duchene - Bobby Ryan
Brady Tkachuk - Colin White - Mark Stone
Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Magnus Paajarvi
Jack Rodewald - Chris Tierney - Rudolfs Balcers

Defence Pairings

Thomas Chabot - Dylan Demelo
Maxime Lajoie - Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki - Ben Harpur

Goaltenders

Craig Andersen
Anders Nilsson


Leafs vs. Senators

Maple Leafs Team Senators
Maple Leafs Team Senators
32-17-3 Record 19-28-5
185 GF - 146 GA - + 39 Goal Differential 159 GF - 194 GA - -35
21.2% - 13th Power Play 21.1% - 14th
80.5% - 14th Penalty Kill 76.4% - 27th
John Tavares - 31 Most Goals Mark Stone - 22
Mitch Marner - 43 Most Assists Thomas Chabot/Mark Stone - 29
Mitch Marner - 63 Most Points Mark Stone - 51
Hyman - 48 Most PIM Mark Borowiecki - 79
Morgan Rielly - 22:43 TOI Leader Thomas Chabot - 24:02
Frederik Andersen - .923 Sv% Starting Goaltender Craig Anderson - .906 Sv%

The Senators like to play the Leafs hard, and although the game is likely to be energetic, it “should” be a win. That’s a dangerous statement to make considering the things we’ve seen this season, but they’re in a position to expect nothing less than victory over a bottom five team.