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Maple Leafs, Senators set to reach halfway point

by Brian Hunter

SENATORS (12-7-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (14-9-0)


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

Season series: Third of five meetings between these Northeast Division rivals. Each team has won once on home ice this season. Ben Scrivens stopped 34 shots for his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 Toronto victory on Feb. 16, while one week later Ottawa recorded a 3-2 win on a goal by Colin Greening with 24 seconds remaining.

Big story: Each team will have reached the halfway point in its season after Tuesday's game. The Senators have been relying mostly on defense and goaltending with several key scorers out, while the Maple Leafs have been playing a more offensive style of game, but the end result for both has been winning on a fairly regular basis.

Team Scope:

Senators: With the exception of Chicago, no team has a lower goals-against average than Ottawa, which is how the Senators continue to tread water without Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and others. Only Nashville averages fewer goals per game, but Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner have been getting the job done with Craig Anderson also sidelined. The Senators are 0-1-2 in their last three games, including Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders, but coach Paul MacLean isn't getting down on his players.

"Frustration is a useless emotion to me," he said. "They gave a good account of themselves. We'd have liked to win the game, but they were a little bit better in the shootout than we were."

Maple Leafs: One of the NHL's top road teams, Toronto has a chance to get above .500 at Air Canada Centre with a victory Wednesday. The Maple Leafs seemed in danger of disappointing the home faithful once again when they trailed the Devils 2-1 heading into the third period Monday, but Jay McClement's goal 39 seconds in opened the floodgates. Clarke MacArthur and Phil Kessel also scored before 10 minutes had elapsed, and the Leafs rallied for a 4-2 win.

"The boys came out flying in the third," said James Reimer, who stopped 28 shots. "We kind of talked about it in the second intermission, how we didn't probably have the best 40 minutes, but we can make for it in the third and we did."

Who's hot: Bishop, the anticipated starter in goal for the Senators, allowed five goals in his opening start of the season and hasn't given up more than two in a game since, posting an overall .938 save percentage. … Nazem Kadri followed up a hat trick against the Islanders with a goal and an assist Monday. He has four goals and five assists during a five-game points streak for the Maple Leafs. MacArthur has three goals and three assists during his own five-game points streak.

Injury report: Anderson (ankle) has been skating, though his return date is uncertain. Spezza (back) and Karlsson (Achilles) are on injured reserve. Ottawa is also without defensemen Mike Lundin (concussion) and Jared Cowen (hip) and forwards Guillaume Latendresse (whiplash), Peter Regin (upper body) and Milan Michalek (knee). … Toronto forward Matt Frattin (knee) could play for the first time since Feb. 11, while forward Joffrey Lupul (forearm) is said to be making good progress in his recovery.

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