It looks like neither the Toronto Maple Leafs nor the
Ottawa Senators will be qualifying for the playoffs this year but there’s still
plenty of intrigue as they meet tonight.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are on a 17-7-5 run while the Ottawa Senators are in
an 11-7-1 stretch. Both goaltenders have keyed the midseason turnarounds so
take a look at the under in an otherwise even contest.
The Toronto Maple
Leafs Can Win Because…:
Of goaltender James Reimer.
Optimus Reime has been the key to the team’s inspiration
as he has provided steady netminding on the back end with wins in six of his
last seven. On the year, the rookie is 19-8-4 with a 2.53 GAA. Leafs fans know
it’s been a long time since they have had someone to rely upon consistently
between the pipes.
While Reimer is getting plenty of credit these days – and
rightfully so – the Leafs offense should share in the adulation as well. They
have been putting the biscuit in the basket at a healthy rate, which is another
reason why the team has won five of six. The Leafs have averaged 3.6 goals per
game in that span.
The Leafs are in better shape physically for this contest
as the Sens are without two key veterans: defenseman Sergei Gonchar and forward
Daniel Alfredsson. The Leafs are without agitator Colby Armstrong and enforcer
Colton Orr but are healthy otherwise.
Senators Can Win Because…:
Reimer hasn’t been as sharp as he’s been given credit
for. As a matter of fact, of the two goaltenders expected between the pipes,
the Sens midseason pick up Craig Anderson has been better.
There’s no question that Reimer is a source of confidence
for the Leafs but he’s still given up 12 goals in his last four starts (exactly
three goals in each contest). Anderson has been steadier as he has allowed
either one or no goals in three of his last four starts.
For his career, Anderson is 4-1-0 against the Maple Leafs
with a 1.56 GAA.
The Sens penalty kill has also picked up the pace in
recent games. While the goaltender is often the best penalty killers, the
Senators have killed off 79 of their last 82 shorthanded situations, which now
ranks them among the best in the NHL.
Ottawa has won a season-best three straight at home and
they are finally playing with some confidence at Scotiabank Place. That gives
them a mild home-ice advantage in this game.
Outlook & NHL
Six of the last eight meetings in Ottawa have stayed
under and 13 of the last 17 overall. There’s even more reason to believe that
will be the case on Saturday night with both goaltenders playing well for their
teams. More importantly, both goaltenders have good histories against their
Anderson has a career GAA of 1.56 against Toronto while
Reimer has allowed one regulation goal in his only two career starts against
Ottawa, both coming this season.
The Sportsbooks are siding with Toronto he under is 20-9 when the Sens are at home with a total
of 5.5, so NHL bettors should take the under in this matchup.