Senators-Maple Leafs Preview
The Toronto Maple Leafs have extended their surge as their offense has continued to improve. The opposite has been true for the Ottawa Senators, who have seen the goals continue to dry up during a three-game losing streak.
The Maple Leafs go for their third straight win overall and second in as many home games against the Senators this season Wednesday night.
Toronto (14-9-0) has won three of four, scoring 13 goals in the victories, and is 10-4-0 in its past 14. The Maple Leafs moved to 4-1-0 in their last five home games with a 4-2 victory over New Jersey on Monday.
James Reimer made 16 saves over the first two periods to keep Toronto's deficit at 2-1 before his teammates came through with a dominant third. Jay McClement, Clarke MacArthur and Phil Kessel scored in a 13-shot period after the Leafs had managed 10 total shots in the first two.
"We weren't very happy with what we were doing for the first 40 minutes of the hockey game, and we were fortunate that we were only down one goal," coach Randy Carlyle said.
Toronto, which has scored at least four goals in the past three wins, hadn't reached that number in the previous six contests.
Reimer made his first appearance on home ice since Feb. 11, as he recovered from a mild knee ligament strain. He's won two in a row at home.
"I felt like I've had a couple good days of practice, kind of feel like I'm getting better, getting more comfortable with playing every day," said Reimer, 5-1-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average versus Ottawa in his career. "It felt pretty good out there."
Reimer has given up one total goal in winning his last two starts against the Senators, although both came last season.
If he's back in net Wednesday, he could be in for another strong performance against an Ottawa team that's totaled four goals in going 0-1-2 to start a five-game trip. The Senators, who won five in a row just before this slide, have 52 goals to rank near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
All but one game of that winning streak came at home, and Ottawa has been mostly brutal on the road lately. The Senators have gone 1-6-2 in their last nine there and managed nine goals in the past eight of those.
" ... We battled throughout the last 30 minutes and played pretty good, so that's a good sign being the second game of back-to-backs, and getting that goal to tie it up was good for the morale," captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
The Senators took the most recent meeting with the Leafs 3-2 on Feb. 23 at home after Toronto won 3-0 at home Feb. 16.
Ottawa, which has killed off 15 consecutive penalties, got 33 saves from third-stringer Robin Lehner on Sunday. Backup Ben Bishop is expected to be back in net for this game with Craig Anderson still out with a sprained right ankle.
The Leafs' Nazem Kadri has four goals and five assists during a five-game point streak.
Senators forward Milan Michalek appears ready to return from a knee injury that has kept him out since Feb. 12.