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The Battle of Ontario concludes: Leafs Tailgate

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
10 months ago
The 2022-23 rendition of the Battle of Ontario will conclude tonight at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata as the Leafs (44-20-10) visit the Ottawa Senators (37-33-5).
Through three meetings, Toronto’s 2-1-0. The two squads have combined for 22 goals.
The Leafs are coming off an ugly 3-2 OT loss to the Panthers on Wednesday night. Ottawa’s won three of four.
Let’s face it: This one’s much bigger for the Sens —if you think they actually have a shot here. With seven games remaining, they find themselves five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Meantime, Toronto’s four points up on Tampa with two games in hand for second in the Atlantic Division.
 
TIME: 7 PM ET (CBC, Sportsnet)
 
STARTING GOALIES:
 
TOR Matt Murray – LIKELY (14-8-2, 2.97, 0.905,1 SO)
@
OTT Mads Sogaard – LIKELY (7-5-2, 3.18, 0.894)
 
PROJECTED LINEUPS:
 
Jarnkrok-Matthews-Marner
Kerfoot-Tavares-Nylander
Bunting-Lafferty-Simmonds
Aston-Reese-Kamp
 
McCabe-Brodie
Giordano-Holl
Rielly-Schenn
 
Tkachuk-Stutzle-Giroux
DeBrincat-Pinto-Batherson
Joseph-Greig-Gambrell
Brown-Kastelic-Watson
 
Sanderson-Zub
Brannstrom-Bernard-Docker
Kleven-Holden
 
THREE STORYLINES:
CAN THE LEAFS END THE SENS?
Any competitor will tell you that it feels just a bit better to beat a rival. And tonight, the Leafs essentially have a chance to end any hopes Ottawa has of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Win or lose, the Senators will be hard-pressed to make it, but at any rate, Toronto can squash any aspirations they may have. As per usual, the two teams have played each other tough this season. It’s funny: No matter what the circumstances are or position in the standings, more often than not, you know you’ll get a competitive game out of the two teams. I call it a betting nightmare.
ANOTHER POTENTIAL MATT MURRAY REVENGE GAME?
(No confirmed starter at the time of this write-up)
For the second time in exactly two weeks, Matt Murray has a chance to go into Ottawa and win against his former team. On March 18th, the two-time Stanley Cup Champion made 48 stops as Toronto narrowly hung on for a 5-4 shootout victory. As much as I love the revenge game narrative, I’m more interested in Murray finding his groove with the postseason just around the corner. Furthermore, I think it’s fair to say the Leafs will need both goalies in their showdown with Tampa. With that in mind, it’s important for Murray to find his game. He’s been very inconsistent since coming back from the ankle injury.
WHAT’S UP WITH WILLY?
With one goal in his past eight outings, William Nylander has hit probably the first rough patch of his incredible campaign. On top of that, he’s coming off a rough giveaway in OT against the Panthers that pretty much led to Brandon Montour’s game winner. Look, it’s a long season, so I’m not going to pile up on Nylander. He’s been fantastic. Having said all that, they’ll need everyone against Tampa. In a perfect world, Nylander bumps the slump tonight and finished off the regular-season strong. For what it’s worth, he has two goals against the Sens this season.
 
PROP PLAY:
William Nylander Anytime Goal
 
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