The Leafs will look to make it three wins in a row and goaltender Jonathan Bernier will also be looking for his third win in a row as the Leafs take on Ottawa tonight on Hockey Night in Canada. He is also looking at his fifth straight start tonight.
James Reimer hasn’t started since Jan. 21 in Colorado, and he won.
On top of all that, Toronto will also be looking for their third straight win over the Senators this season. The previous two matchups in the Battle of Ontario have both gone the Leafs’ way. James van Riemsdyk scored the winner on Dec. 7 in Ottawa and Mason Raymond got the winner on Oct. 5 in Toronto. Interestingly enough both of those matchups needed the shootout to determine the winner.
Kind of makes you wonder what will happen tonight?
For the time being anyway, nothing seems to rattle this team. A week or so ago everyone who thinks they know hockey was calling for the coach to be fired and Kadri to be traded and whatever the hell else was on their wish list. No surprise that the morons have shut up as of a few days ago when Kadri netted two beauties and the Leafs topped Tampa Bay.
Then they/he did the same as Toronto beat up on Florida 6-3 and Kadri had three assists and now they are on a winning streak.
Tonight’s game is the third of four games between the two teams that clearly don’t like each other. But look out Ottawa because there are just too many Leafs that look like they are still auditioning for Olympic positions (even though Olympic voting is long done).
One of the players who has never been on the trading block since joining Toronto is Van Riemsdyk; has established a career high in goals (22) and points (43) through 54 games this season. He had a goal and an assist and was named the game’s second star in a 6-3 victory against the Florida Panthers on Thursday at Air Canada Centre. His previous high of 21 goals and 40 points was set in his second NHL season with the Philadelphia Flyers (2010-11).
“I was always confident in myself and I think I proved it in Philly,” van Riemsdyk told TSN.ca. “I showed when I had the opportunity to play a lot, play in those key situations, that I was able to be a productive player. I’ve been able to get more of those opportunities since coming [to Toronto]. For me,
I think it was good to start somewhere else, go to a place where I was going to get a chance to show what I can do.”
Ottawa will be starting up a three-game road trip tonight in Toronto. Both of these Ontario teams are coming off recent victories over the Tampa Bay Lighting. Ottawa beat them 5-3 at home on Thursday, Craig Anderson made 35 saves for the Sens. Ottawa finished January with a 7-2-3 record.
Toronto upped its home-ice winning streak to five games with Thursday’s win over Florida.
WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR?: Kyle Turris has four goals and five points in the past five games. … Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier, who made 40 saves in a victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday and 35 in a 6-3 win against the Panthers on Thursday, is 7-1-2 when facing 40 or more shots this season.
INJURY REPORT: Toronto forwards David Clarkson (elbow) and David Bolland (ankle) are questionable. Center Trevor Smith (hand) is out. … Ottawa forward Mark Stone is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury and Chris Phillips (lower body) is questionable.
STANDINGS: Leafs are at 29-21-6 through the first half of the season. A victory tonight will give them 30 wins. They are nine games better at home with a record of 19-10-1 and are a pretty sweet 8-1-1 through their last 10 games. That also qualifies them as the hottest team in the league.
Kadri is on a four-game point streak with seven points, Kessel and van Riemsdyk are both enjoying a three-game point streaks and KEssel has registered more career goals and points against Ottawa than against any other club.
LINE COMBINATIONS: The Leafs lines are not expected to change. But it will be interesting to see if coach Randy Carlyle splits up the defensive pairing of Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner again. In the last game, Rielly was paired with Tim Gleason and Gardiner was paired with Cody Franson. The change came after an early mistake by Gardiner led to Florida’s opening goal.
For Ottawa, expect Kyle Turris to centre Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur on one line. Jason Spezza will likely be between Milan Michalek and Mike Zibanejad.