Michael Landsberg, the dude that hosts Off The Record, had two interesting guests on his show on TSN last night. Although I have no clue who the guy in his studio at the time was, I do know the guy who was taking part via Satellite dish claims to be a Leafs scout for the past 5 year.
So maybe the guests weren’t that exciting but the topic of their conversation definitely was.
Who is going to finish higher this season, the Maple Leafs, or their opponents tonight, the Ottawa Senators?
To my surprise, both of these guys seem to be in favour of Ottawa’s lineup this season. The Sens got off to a good start last night in Buffalo, in what turned out to be a goaltending spectacle at the First Niagara Centre in Buffalo. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson vs Buffalo’s Ryan Miller. Anderson prevailed, getting the shutout and there was only one goal scored, forget who got it but who really cares?
Point is that the goaltending between the Leafs and the Sens was also brought up by Landsberg last night. The question was, whose would you rather have, Ottawa’s (Anderson and Robin Lehner) or the Leafs’ duo (James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier).
Despite both of Landsberg’s guests choosing Ottawa to finish ahead of Toronto come April, they both seemed to agree that Toronto’s should outlast Ottawa’s, by that I assume that the Leafs should go farther through the playoffs this time around then should Ottawa.
What I don’t understand is why anyone (asides from those living in Ottawa) would suggest Ottawa has an edge over Toronto? Ottawa lost their franchise player to an arguably better hockey club back on Free Agent Friday (or Monday or whatever day it happened to be.
If we were to go back and look at the season series in that shortened season, Toronto has the undeniable advantage over Ottawa.
Leafs won four of the five games last season, including two shutouts, outscoring the Ottawa Senators 18-8.
Ottawa is also making their second stop tonight in what is a six-game road trip to open the season.
With the injury to defenseman Mark Fraser (knee hurt in Philly on Wed) that is going to mean an opening-night promotion for WHL product Morgan Reilly.
“[Morgan has] played in World Juniors, he’s played in pressure situations, but it’s always special when you play your first game in the NHL,” Head Coach Carlyle told the media.
Rielly, the fifth player taken in the 2012 NHL Draft, was paired with Jake Gardiner on Friday.
“I feel pretty comfortable out there in practice, and in the preseason games I played, so I think I’ll be OK if I get a chance to play,” Rielly, 19, said.
Center Nazem Kadri skated on the third line, with Dave Bolland in the middle of the second.
Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 35 saves Friday for his 23rd NHL shutout. … Bolland scored twice against the Flyers. Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf have a goal and an assist each.
Injury report: Senators defenseman Joe Corvo (unknown) did not play Friday. … Fraser (lower body) could be out 3-4 weeks. Forward Fraser McLaren (finger) is out.
Also, Nikolai Kulemin, one of the Leafs most dependable forwards over the last 4-5 years or more, is going to be MIA with a chipped ankle bone. The Leafs will also be without the services of forward Nikolai Kulemin. Carlyle said the Russian is expected to be out for two weeks with a chipped bone in his ankle. He sustained the injury in practice yesterday after blocking a shot from captain Dion Phaneuf.
The Maple Leafs, who last won three straight to start the season in 2011-12, will play two straight and five of their next six at home. They won both of their home meetings with the Senators a season ago and have taken six of seven and eight of the past 12 encounters overall.
Also, Leaf heavy hitter Jamie Devane, the guy that knocked out Buffalo’s Corey Tropp in that pre-season game in Toronto that nobody on either team or their fans will soon forget, has gotten that prestigious call-up back to the big boys for tonight’s encounter.
Watch out Sens.
Devane, who had been cut by the Leafs, had been assigned to the Marlies of the AHL. He did a swell job making a name for himself in the NHL when he broke Tropp’s jaw in a fight that night.
RETURN TO T.O. FOR CLARKE MACARTHUR
According to Ottawa Senators Head Coach Paul McLean, the former Leaf “to this point he has fit in very well, he gives a skilled and experienced player that has played 400 games in the league and we don’t have very many of those. I think he and Bobby Ryan both are players in that category and of that calibre and I think they showed in the way they played last night (in Buffalo), both of them, that they’re going to help us a lot.”