A Leafs-Senators game on Saturday night is reason enough for hockey fans to get fired up, but The Hockey News is adding some fuel to the fire by giving away a signed Curtis Joseph jersey on Twitter tonight. Join Ken Campbell at 7p.m. EST when he takes over The Hockey News’ Twitter account for our latest #THNLive event, sponsored by the ScotiaHockey NHL debit card and the Scotiabank Hockey Adventure of a Lifetime contest. Ken will provide running commentary during the game, interact with @TheHockeyNews followers and give them the opportunity to enter to win the beauty of a jersey you see at the top of this post.
Coming off a 3-2 overtime victory on Thursday that ended a five-game losing streak, the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to carry that momentum when they visit the Ottawa Senators Saturday night. The “Battle of Ontario” rivalry has been one-sided recently as the Leafs have won seven of the past eight matchups — most recently a 5-4 shootout victory in October.
Toronto has had no trouble generating offence in their four-game winning streak against Ottawa, scoring at least four goals in each game. Senators coach Paul MacLean would be wise to devise a gameplan to contain 23-year-old center Nazem Kadri, who scored twice on Thursday and combined for six goals in the last four games of this rivalry.
Kadri’s two-goal performance on Thursday occurred as he was promoted to the Leafs’ top line with James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel. With three of the Leafs’ top four scorers now playing together, the Senators’ struggling defence (they’re 27th in the NHL in goals allowed this season) will be hard-pressed to extinguish those potential fireworks.
Besides the emotional baggage of the rivalry, the Senators will be looking to reduce the seven-point difference from the Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings. A win tonight would be a good start towards working their way back into the playoff picture — while they’re currently in 12th place in the East, they’re only four points behind the eighth-place New York Rangers and there’s still plenty of time in the season to gain that ground.