Toronto Maple Leafs @ Ottawa Senators
07:00 PM at Canadian Tire Centre
Watch on: CBC, SNO, SNW, SNP
The Leafs last game was at home on March 29 against the Florida Panthers, which Toronto lost by a score of 3-2. The Leafs have a record of 44-20-10 so far.
The Ottawa Senators last played at home on March 30 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Senators won by a score of 5-4, and their current league record is 37-33-5.
There's no escaping it at this time of the year, the only topic of conversation is: Will the Leafs' opponent make the playoffs? It's very unlikely Ottawa will, but not technically impossible. Ottawa and Buffalo both are in the hunt with 79 points, five back of Pittsburgh. And Florida is in their way. It's not happening for either team, but they're both playing like they believe – which is a good setup of next season.
Bruce Garrioch via Daily Faceoff from morning skate today
Brady Tkachuk - Tim Stützle - Claude Giroux
Alex DeBrincat - Shane Pinto - Drake Batherson
Mathieu Joseph - Ridly Greig - Dylan Gambrell
Patrick Brown - Mark Kastelic - Austin Watson
Jake Sanderson - Artem Zub
Erik Brannstrom - Jacob Bernard-Docker
Tyler Kleven - Nick Holden
Mads Sogaard - likely starter
Noel Acciari is out with an injury and is day-to-day, and Wayne Simmonds was ill yesterday. The Leafs recalled newly acquired Radim Zohorna from the Marlies, and he may play today. Ryan O'Reilly is nearly ready to return (cap issues will decide the exact day as much as the status of his broken finger) but he's not pushing to come back yet.
I'm guessing 11-7 will be the ultimate arrangement. Lines below are based on yesterday's practice. Erik Gustafsson is away from the team for family business.
Calle Järnkrok - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Michael Bunting - David Kämpf - Sam Lafferty
Zach Aston-Reese - Radim Zohorna
Jake McCabe - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Justin Holl
Morgan Rielly - Luke Schenn
Matt Murray - likely starter
The schedule for the rest of the season is brutal. Making this more difficult for the Leafs is a very tight cap situation, and a few injuries to forwards leading to a little more of the 11-7 configuration.
With this being a back-to-back weekend, the best outcome is an early big lead and a lot of minutes for the bottom five or six players. Ottawa hasn't been playing like they want to give those games to contenders though, so we'll see.
While I've got you here, as they like to say in the marketing emails, I want to thank everyone who has subscribed to the new PPP Leafs, who have made a free account, or who just look in from time to time. The response has been deeply satisfying, not just for me, but for everyone who has made PPP what it is over many, many years.
And with today marking our first game together entirely on this site, I want to welcome everyone to the site officially. And Go Leafs Go!