Sens look to turn things around against Leafs
MAPLE LEAFS (23-34-12) at SENATORS (37-27-5)
: Toronto 4-5-1; Ottawa 4-5-1.
: This is the sixth and final meeting between the Northeast Division rivals. After losing the first two matches, Toronto has taken three in a row from the Sens, including a 2-1 shootout victory at Scotiabank Place on March 6. Phil Kessel
scored in both
regulation and the shootout for the Leafs.
: The Senators seemed destined to unseat the Buffalo Sabres in the division race, but Cory Clouston's club has stumbled since returning from the Olympic break. Ottawa is just 1-4-1 since it resumed play on March 2. Nonetheless, the Sens enter Tuesday's action in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and just three points behind the Sabres in the Northeast.
"Nobody is panicking right now," Clouston said. "We know we're a good team and we've just got to get back to playing our game. To me, there's a big difference between some urgency and panic, and we've just got to play with a little more urgency."
: Toronto was denied a chance to extend its winning streak to four games on Sunday, when it dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Maple Leafs went 0-for-7 on the power play and allowed a shorthanded goal to Richard Park.
"When you get a lot of opportunities on the power play, you need to take advantage of it,'' said Jean-Sebastien Giguere
, who made 28 saves in the loss. "We're a team that has a lot of speed to draw penalties. We need to find a way to create traffic in front, get dirty and score some big goals.''
: Ottawa struggled mightily on its two-game trip out West, where it suffered back-to-back losses in Calgary and Vancouver, respectively. The Sens were blanked in a 2-0 loss to the Flames last Thursday before being pummeled by the Canucks by a 5-1 score on Saturday.
"I don't know what to say about that effort," Clouston said. "They played like it was a playoff game and we weren't ready to step our game up."
: Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson
, who is expected to start against the Sens, has won his last three starts. … Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson has five assists in five games this month and leads the team with 54 points.
: Leafs forward Fredrik Sjostrom
is expected to return later this month from a shoulder injury, but defenseman Mike Komisarek
(shoulder) and Mike Van Ryn
(knee) are done for the season. … Sens forward Nick Foligno (broken leg) is close to returning, as is defenseman Filip Kuba (lower body). Chris Campoli (knee) is expected to return later this month.
: With a 14-18-1 record, the Senators have won fewer road games than any team currently among the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The New York Rangers, who sit in ninth place, have won 16 road games.
: "We've tried to do too much. We have to simplify our game. I think the most important thing is we have to believe in the things we do out on the ice. We're just not confident with the puck. Every time we get the puck, we're throwing it somewhere without looking and making bad passes. It comes down to not trusting yourself and not being confident." -- Sens forward Alex Kovalev