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Leafs go for 2-0-0 start vs. Senators

by John Kreiser

SENATORS (0-1-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (1-0-0)

TV -- CBC (HD)

Season series
-- It's the first installment of the Battle of Ontario. The Senators won the first two meetings last season, but the Leafs took the last four.

Big story -- The Leafs started their season with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, giving them more points than they had after eight games last season -- when an 0-7-1 start basically doomed their playoff hopes. They are trying to start the season with back-to-back victories for the first time since winning three in a row to start the 1999-2000 season.

Team Scope:

Senators -- Opening with a 2-1 home loss to Buffalo was disappointing, but the Senators might have found a starting goaltender. Neither Pascal Leclaire nor Brian Elliott was sharp during the preseason, but Leclaire was impressive with a 34-save performance against the Sabres and might have earned another start.

"I felt good," Leclaire said. "The first five minutes I had the nerves, but as things got going I felt comfortable. I got a lot of shots so it was easy to get into the game and it was a good start. But it will be better when we get our first win."

Maple Leafs -- Despite his team's season-opening victory -- or maybe because of it -- Leafs coach Ron Wilson spent a lot of Friday trying to tamp down expectations in a city that hasn't seen a playoff game since the spring of 2004.

"It's one game, we're not going to get carried away," Wilson said. "We've got another rival (on Saturday) and that'll be another energetic affair.

"I'm sure they've already planned the Stanley Cup parade."

Who's hot -- Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson has 4 goals in his last eight games against Toronto. … Jean-Sebastien Giguere looked sharp in the opener for the Leafs and has a 5-2-1 record with a 1.96 goals-against average in the regular season against the Senators. Phil Kessel has goals in seven consecutive games against Ottawa.

Injury report -- Jason Spezza sat out Friday night with a sore groin and is likely to miss this game as well. Defenseman Filip Kuba will miss at least another three weeks with a broken leg. ...Toronto is without two defensemen as both Brett Lebda (shoulder) and Jeff Finger (undisclosed) are out,

Stat pack -- Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliott went 0-3 with a 3.81 GAA against the Leafs last season. … Kessel is 12-4-16 in his last 11 games against the Senators.

Puck drop -- The Leafs would like nothing more than to start their season with back-to-back victories at home against a pair of Northeast Division rivals. In contrast, the Senators need a win to avoid starting with consecutive division losses. Expect a spirited effort from both sides.

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