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Maple Leafs host Senators in home opener

by Mike Battaglino /

SENATORS (1-0-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (2-0-0)


Season series: The Toronto Maple Leafs won four of the five games last season, including two shutouts, outscoring the Ottawa Senators 18-8.

Big story: The Senators, who had not played since closing the preseason Sunday, started the regular season Friday night and now encounter the rested Maple Leafs in their home opener at Air Canada Centre.

"Every game we play against them it's been intense," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle told the team website. "It'll be fast-paced, a skating game, it'll be hard hitting, all of the things the Battle of Ontario has lived up to over the years. ...

"The pace of the games, and the electricity that's in the building, it's something that separates it from other games."

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa started a season-opening six-game road trip with a 1-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. The Senators finished with 46 shots on Ryan Miller; Erik Karlsson finally beat him with 1:35 left.

"We have the first game under our belt, and hopefully we get some kinks out, and we get to get right back on the horse tomorrow night and we're looking forward to that," coach Paul MacLean said.

Jason Spezza was credited with seven of those shots in his first game as captain. Linemates Bobby Ryan had five and Milan Michalek three.

"You just can't get frustrated," Spezza said. "I think we've had a lot of scoring chances, a lot of quality scoring chances. It's a good sign to get that many opportunities."

Maple Leafs: Toronto was the first team this season to win twice, with back-to-back road victories against the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We've been sloppy, we've made some mistakes, but so have the teams we're playing against," Carlyle said Friday. "... We're still very much [a] work in progress, but I think every team is."

With defenseman Mark Fraser injured, Morgan Rielly is expected to take his place and make his NHL debut.

"[Morgan has] played in World Juniors, he's played in pressure situations, but it's always special when you play your first game in the NHL," Carlyle said.

Rielly, the fifth player taken in the 2012 NHL Draft, was paired with Jake Gardiner on Friday.

"I feel pretty comfortable out there in practice, and in the preseason games I played, so I think I'll be OK if I get a chance to play," Rielly, 19, said.

Center Nazem Kadri skated on the third line, with Dave Bolland in the middle of the second.

Who's hot: Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 35 saves Friday for his 23rd NHL shutout. … Bolland scored twice against the Flyers. Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf have a goal and an assist each.

Injury report: Senators defenseman Joe Corvo (unknown) did not play Friday. … Fraser (lower body) could be out 3-4 weeks. Forward Fraser McLaren (finger) is out.

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