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game preview

Senators at Maple Leafs preview

Smith to make coaching debut against former team; Barrie to play first game with Toronto

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

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

7 p.m. ET; SN, SN360, TVAS, NHL.TV 

 

The Game

Tyson Barrie will make his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Jason Spezza will not, when they open the season against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday

Spezza, who signed a one-year contract with Toronto on July 1, played his first 11 seasons with Ottawa, who selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2001 NHL Draft. Coach Mike Babcock said Spezza would play Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Barrie had an NHL career-high 59 points (14 goals, 45 assists) in 78 games last season and was acquired with forward Alexander Kerfoot and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on July 1 for forward Nazem Kadri, defenseman Calle Rosen and a third-round pick in the 2020 draft.

D.J. Smith, who was as an assistant with Toronto the past four seasons, will face his former team in his first game as coach after he was hired by Ottawa on May 23.

 

Players to watch

Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot was third on the team in scoring last season with 55 points (14 goals, 41 assists) in 70 games after he had 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 63 games as a rookie in 2017-18.

Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews has nine points (seven goals, two assists) in three career season openers and could become the fourth player in NHL history to score at least one goal in each of his first four openers.

 

They said it

"They're culture guys, arguably four of the better culture guys from that Leaf team a year ago. They know how to practice like pros, act like pros and they put the work in. It makes it easier when you have four guys used to playing at this pace on a daily basis." -- Senators coach D.J. Smith on Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev, Tyler Ennis and Ron Hainsey, who each played with Toronto last season

"A little bit before the game, but I think it's more you're anxious to finally get out there. Preseason feels like it was longer than the summer, so I think we're just excited to get the season going." -- Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews on nerves ahead of opener

 

Senators projected lineup

Brady Tkachuk -- Colin White -- Connor Brown

Anthony Duclair -- Chris Tierney -- Bobby Ryan

Tyler Ennis -- Artem Anisimov -- Drake Batherson

Filip Chlapik -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Scott Sabourin

Thomas Chabot -- Nikita Zaitsev

Erik Brannstrom -- Ron Hainsey

Mark Borowiecki -- Dylan DeMelo

Craig Anderson

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Mikkel Boedker, Cody Goloubef

Injured: None

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup 

Kasperi Kapanen -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Ilya Mikheyev -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Trevor Moore

Dmytro Timashov -- Nicholas Shore -- Frederik Gauthier

Morgan Rielly -- Cody Ceci

Jake Muzzin -- Tyson Barrie

Rasmus Sandin -- Martin Marincin

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Jason Spezza, Justin Holl, Timothy Liljegren

Injured: Zach Hyman (ACL), Travis Dermott (shoulder)

 

Status report

Hyman and Dermott are each on schedule in their rehab from offseason surgery but are expected to miss 12-14 games to start the season.

 

Stat pack

The Maple Leafs roster will feature 13 different players from their lineup on opening night last season. … The Senators are 5-0-0 in season openers against the Maple Leafs. They could become the second team in NHL history without a loss of any kind in six openers against a single opponent, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-0-0 against the Washington Capitals).

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