Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators
7:00 p.m. E.T. on CBC, SNO, SNP, TVAS2
SB Nation Opponent’s site: Silver Seven Sens

The Maple Leafs host the Senators tonight for what will be a rather unremarkable game in the standings, but one notable on the NHL calendar. We’re now less than 48 hours to the NHL trade deadline and the Leafs are very much expected to make some kind of move before then and everyone is waiting for it, but first, they have to play out this game.

The last time the Leafs played the Senators was March 25. The game was tied 2-2 at the end of the third period but Justin Holl won it in OT. Normally, Justin Holl scoring in OT would be a highlight reel moment, but that was overshadowed by the Senators’ GM Pierre Dorian having a meltdown in his arena suite and throwing his drink across the room.

I wonder if anyone has even cleaned up that mess yet? Maybe the Leafs can get him to do it again tonight!

This game is also exactly one month before the last scheduled game of the regular season for the Leafs on May 10th, which will coincidentally also be against the Senators, all though because of the Canucks’ situation, that schedule could still be changed.

Projected Leafs Lines
(no changes from previous game; source: Sheldon Keefe via Lance Hornby)

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alex Galchenyuk - John Tavares - William Nylander Ilya Mikheyev
Joe Thornton - Alex Kerfoot - Jason Spezza
Alexander Barabanov - Pierre Engvall - Wayne Simmonds

Morgan Rielly - T.J. Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Zach Bogosian

Jack Campbell is the presumed starter
Michael Hutchinson is the backup

Projected Senators Lines
(from morning skate source: Senators Twitter)

Brady Tkachuk - Josh Norris - Nick Paul
Tim Stutzle - Mike Amadio - Drake Batherson
Alex Formenton - Chris Tierney - Evgenii Dadonov
Ryan Dzingel - Clark Bishop - Connor Brown

Thomas Chabot - Nikita Zaitsev
Mike Reilly - Artem Zub
Erik Brannstrom - Erik Gudbranson

Anton Forsberg is the presumed starter
Marcus Hogberg is the backup

The Game

I don’t have much to say about a late season first place vs. last place game, but, oh right, the Senators have another Tkachuk on their team, and he’s also actually good, so in a way this game is like playing the Flames who are also rapidly heading down the division standings.

The Senators have lost three straight games, and they look very comfortable in last place in the division right now, so it’s entirely possible the Leafs make this their sixth straight win, but then again, a nationally broadcast game against a last place team is totally one you can see leading to an embarrassing loss! You will recall in the last game it was ex-Leaf Connor Brown who scored first, which definitely sets a negative tone when it happens. Let’s go for a classic Auston Matthews wrister to open tonight’s game, like one of those four goals he scored against the Senators in his very first NHL game.

Let’s also hope Kyle Dubas gets to sip his coffee peacefully at the end of the game tonight, unless he’s using two phones at once to make trades. Don’t throw the phone at the wall, Kyle!

The Leafs have got this, right?

Easy as a slice of pie! What could go wrong? It’s the Senators.52
The Leafs playing the last place team? On a nationally broadcast game? On Hockey Night in Canada? Uh oh...144