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Discipline, penalties key for Leafs, Senators

Ottawa ranks last in NHL in penalty killing

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (19-22-9) at SENATORS (23-23-6)


OTTAWA -- Staying out of the penalty box will be a priority for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre.

It should be for the Senators, too, in the latest chapter in the Battle of Ontario.

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said taking penalties has been an issue for his team lately.

"A priority for us is we have to be way more disciplined," he said. "The last five games we have taken too many penalties, whether shooting it over the glass is a lack of discipline, or whatever; too many men on the ice penalties, gliding to the bench on a long change. We can't be in the penalty box against their power play so that's critical for us."

The Maple Leafs have given up an average of five power plays a game in the past five games.

They have won two straight and have earned points in five of their past seven games (3-2-2).

The Senators have lost three in a row and five of their past six games in regulation. They have been struggling on special teams. They are last in the NHL in penalty killing (73.5 percent) and last on the power play at home (12.7 percent).

In the past 10 games, the Senators have scored four power-play goals and given up 10. They have also scored two short-handed goals.

"We have discussed it, we have talked about it, we have made some adjustments," coach Dave Cameron said of the team's penalty killing.

The players held a meeting after their 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and there was another long meeting Friday.

Cameron was asked what he hoped would be a result of the meetings.

"I hope it was just don't feel sorry for yourself," he said. "This the National Hockey League, there's ups and downs. The ups take care of themselves. The downs you can grow from. It's a chance for us to grow as a team, it's a chance for them to grow as individuals. I think the energy today, I didn't see any 'poor me' today, so I like that."

The Senators assigned forward Max McCormick to Binghamton of the American Hockey League and called up forwards Ryan Dzingel and Nick Paul.

Paul, who was acquired from the Dallas Stars in the trade for Jason Spezza, is expected to play his first NHL game.

Cameron's advice to him?

"Just be Nick Paul," he said. "Find the excitement. It's your first game. You worked all your life to be here so you should be energized. Don't try and play your whole career in this game tonight."

The Maple Leafs assigned forward Rich Clune to the Toronto Marlies on Thursday. Brad Boyes returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past five games.

Here are the projected lineups:


Michael Grabner - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Daniel Winnik - Tyler Bozak - P.A. Parenteau

Shawn Matthias - Nick Spaling - Joffrey Lupul

Peter Holland - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Dion Phaneuf - Frank Corrado

Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Martin Marincin

Injured: Stephane Robidas (knee), James van Riemsdyk (foot)


Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone

Shane Prince - Curtis Lazar - Alex Chiasson

Ryan Dzingel - Nicke Paul - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch - Cody Ceci  

Mark Borowiecki - Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Jared Cowen  

Injured: Kyle Turris (lower body), Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Milan Michalek (broken finger), David Dziurzynski (undisclosed)

Status report: Turris could return against the Maple Leafs. He has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury.

Who's hot: Karlsson has a goal and three assists in his past three games … Stone has two goals and an assist in his past two games … Parenteau and Matthias each have a goal and an assist in their past two games.

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