As the Toronto Maple Leafs start to wrap up the 2021 NHL season, in which they’ve been crowned the champions of the North division, they’ll head to Ottawa to face the second last team in that same North division.
Of course, Ottawa will only hold on to being just second last if the Vancouver Canucks can’t finish out the year, or fail to post a record with a 50% points percentage or more in their remaining games. However, as it stands currently, the wordplay-ish title is technically correct — the best kind of correct.
Toronto holds a 5-3 record against the Senators this year, which is the worst head-to-head record that they have against any opponent this season. It’s not really all that surprising to learn that the Leafs struggle with the Senators the most, as anyone who’s watched hockey for a long time can tell you that in rivalry matchups, skill seems to become less of a factor than the emotional willpower of the team.
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Tonight, Toronto aims to double up on the Senators in this last contest between the two teams this season.

Tale of the Tape

The Tale of the Tape for this contest comes from our own Mark Norman. Check out his Tableau page for more Leafs-related visualizations!

Leafs Lines

With Nick Foligno, Zach Hyman, and Riley Nash injured, it’s expected that the Leafs will use the same lineup they had in the previous game against Montreal, despite the fact that Hyman and Nash were out at practice today. Both are confirmed to not be available vs. Ottawa.
LWCRWForwards
Joe Thornton
JOE THORNTON
Rating: 72.3#74 LW
Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 82.3#6 C
Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER
Rating: 76.6#18 RW
FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.06#8 FL1
Alex Galchenyuk
ALEX GALCHENYUK
Rating: 70.8#115 LW
John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 77.6#15 C
William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 76.1#23 RW
FL2 Rating
Rating: 74.83#7 FL2
Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 71.0#98 LW
Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 70.8#113 C
Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV
Rating: 74.0#42 RW
FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.95#18 FL3
Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 69.4#126 LW
Wayne Simmonds
WAYNE SIMMONDS
Rating: 70.2#112 RW
FL4 Rating
Rating: 69.83#25 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGSDefense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY
Rating: 75.3#14 LD
T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE
Rating: 74.2#27 RD
DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.76#13 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN
Rating: 75.1#17 LD
Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL
Rating: 72.0#61 RD
DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.56#9 DL2
Ben Hutton
BEN HUTTON
Rating: 73.5#44 LD
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT
Rating: 71.7#83 RD
DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.58#10 DL3

Senators Lines

I’m not totally convinced that this isn’t a prank by DailyFaceoff. I’ve come to accept that Artem Zub really exists, but Olle Alsing is really pushing it.
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LWCRWForwards
Brady Tkachuk
BRADY TKACHUK
Rating: 75.0#27 LW
FL1 Rating
Rating: 73.71#22 FL1
Nick Paul
NICK PAUL
Rating: 71.2#105 LW
Colin White
COLIN WHITE
Rating: 70.3#129 C
Evgenii Dadonov
EVGENII DADONOV
Rating: 73.1#53 RW
FL2 Rating
Rating: 71.53#25 FL2
Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN
Rating: 72.6#66 RW
FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.58#7 FL3
Ryan Dzingel
RYAN DZINGEL
Rating: 70.2#117 LW
Chris Tierney
CHRIS TIERNEY
Rating: 72.2#77 C
FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.18#13 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGSDefense
Victor Mete
VICTOR METE
Rating: 72.2#70 LD
Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV
Rating: 70.5#97 RD
DL1 Rating
Rating: 71.38#28 DL1
DL2 Rating
Rating: 71.03#25 DL2
DL3 Rating
Rating: 0.00#30 DL3

Starting Goalies

The only expected change for Toronto is that Frederik Andersen makes his return to the goaltender’s crease after a lengthy injury kept him out of the lineup.
Also, it’s expected that the Sens will continue to start Anton Forsberg with star goalie Matt Murray (lol) and backup Joey Daccord both out injured.

Where to tune in

This game will be on Sportsnet at a later-than-usual 8 p.m. Eastern start time. See you there!