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Leafs and Senators renew Battle of Ontario

by Brian Hunter

MAPLE LEAFS (8-10-3) at SENATORS (10-12-1)

TV -- CBC (HD)

Last 10 --
Toronto 3-5-2; Ottawa 4-6-0

Season series
-- It's the third of six meetings in this season's Battle of Ontario, and the first at Scotiabank Place. The teams have split a pair of games at the Air Canada Centre, with Kris Versteeg and Clarke MacArthur each recording a goal and an assist in a 5-1 Toronto win on Oct. 9, and Mike Fisher scoring on a penalty shot to spark Ottawa's 3-2 victory on Nov. 2.

Big story --
While the Maple Leafs haven't exactly been setting the world on fire lately, neither have their opponents Saturday, and with a regulation win they would pull even with the Senators in the Northeast Division standings.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs -- Second-year goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been given an opportunity to shoulder the entire workload with Jean-Sebastien Giguere sidelined with a groin injury, and the man known as "The Monster" has acquitted himself well. He gave up a couple early power-play goals in a 3-1 loss to Buffalo on Friday, but in four starts since Giguere went down, Gustavsson has a pair of wins and a .941 save percentage.

"Two quick goals there," he told the National Post following Friday's defeat. "We didn't score. We had some power-play opportunities. But we couldn't score."

Senators -- One goal isn't going to win very many hockey games unless your goaltending is flawless. One goal, however, has been the offensive output for Ottawa in four of its last six games. The Senators haven't won any of them, including consecutive 2-1 losses to the Stars on Wednesday and the Penguins on Friday. Jesse Winchester got the scoring started in Pittsburgh, but goals by Evgeni Malkin and Alex Goligoski proved too much to overcome.

"It's a loss, and we've got to find ways to win those tie games," goalie Pascal Leclaire said. "We played pretty good, but Marc-Andre [Fleury] played a good game today. He made some good saves. It was just a good up-and-down game."

Who's hot -- Phil Kessel leads the Maple Leafs with 10 goals, including his first career shorthanded tally on Friday. … Leclaire can hardly be blamed for the Senators' recent struggles - he's allowed just two goals in each of his last three games while posting a .938 save percentage.

Injury report
-- In addition to Giguere, forward Mike Brown is also battling a groin injury for the Toronto and is day-to-day after sitting on Friday. Forward Colby Armstrong (hand/foot) and defenseman Dion Phaneuf (leg) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack -- Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who has reached double digits in goals three times in his career, is still looking for his first this season. He has 10 assists in 21 games. … Friday marked only the second time in 10 games this season that the Senators have lost when scoring the first goal.

Puck drop
-- Toronto entered Friday's game having taken the fewest minor penalties in the NHL and was 25th averaging 10.8 penalty minutes per game. But they had some costly calls go against them, including a triple roughing minor on Colton Orr that led to Jordan Leopold and Thomas Vanek scoring 1:45 apart, digging the Leafs an early hole.

"It was a game of emotions," Leafs coach Ron Wilson told the National Post. "We did take some bad penalties."

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