With the close of the rookie tournament coming at the conclusion of the Toronto Maple Leafs third game, the dramatic climax of the three game round robin could not have been scripted better as they prepare to square off against cross province rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
Like Toronto, Ottawa enters their final game flawless, defeating both Pittsburgh and Chicago. The Senators have seen unprecedented offence from Stephane Da Costa, who registered a natural hat-trick in his last game, as well as tonight's starting goalie Robin Lehner who notched the tournament's only shutout in his first outing.
"We're just going to throw as many pucks at him as we can. Usually these goalies, a guy like Lehner, they're hard to score on so our goals are going to come off rebounds, screens - they come of that nature. We're going to get our guys to put pucks on the net and then send bodies to the net all night," confided Leafs bench boss Dallas Eakins after practice.
Two hundred feet down ice, Mark Owuya
will settle into his blue paint for the full 60 minutes. Owuya turned away all shooters during the period and a half he played on Saturday, and is looking to maintain his perfect record in goal.
When sharing the advice he received from goaltending coach Francois Allaire, Owuya said simply he wants to "end the rookie tournament as (he) started."
Toronto will look to maintain their physical command on the ice against the statistically larger Ottawa squad. The Senators will ice eight players that stand at least 6-foot-3, while the Leafs lineup only offers half that many. Toronto has engaged six times in fights over the course of their six periods of tournament play, and will take advantage of team grit again on Tuesday.
"We are going to take the [defensively] responsible side of the game and try to be physical and try to wear them down," said Eaksin. "As always when Toronto and Ottawa get together, it's usually a fun game."
After spending the last game watching their teammates from high above, all of Jake Gardiner
, Jesse Blacker
, Matt Frattin
and Kenny Ryan
will return to action against the Senators. Gardiner leads the team with two goals, one of which being the game winner against Chicago, and the added skill will be a welcomed return against the experienced Ottawa netminder, who earned the AHL's championship trophy with his Binghamton Senators last spring.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at GM Centre, and will be televised on Rogers TV, as well as online on delay at 7:30 p.m. at mapleleafs.com. Follow the Maple Leafs and Chansler on twitter for updates on all the action, and join the game long conversation on the Maple Leafs Facebook page.Notes: David Broll
will sit the final game out after sustaining an injury to his wrist on Sunday … Stuart Percy
, who was on the receiving end of a large hit against Pittsburgh, will be a healthy scratch on Tuesday … After surrendering the head coaching role to Jim Hughes for the match against Pittsburgh, Dallas Eakins will return as the Leafs bench boss … Player to Watch: Matt Frattin
. Held off the scoresheet in his only game of the tournament, look for Frattin to make an offensive impact to close out the round robin.
Having a problem putting a name to a number? Check out the full roster here
.EXPECTED LEAFS LINEUP
STARTING IN GOAL: #1 Mark OwuyaFORWARD LINES
McKegg - Heard - Nicholls
Olden - Carrick - Frattin
Brenner - Ryan - Neuber
Devane - Crescenzi - LeivoDEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Stanisz - Blacker
Gardiner - Urban
Clarke - Schwindt