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Game Day 5: Sens vs Leafs

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

The Sens are looking to snap their 2-game home losing streak tonight when they host the Maple Leafs and we've got 5 things you should probably know before puck drop.

1. Battle of Ontario 2.0

Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Senators have dominated their provincial series with the Maple Leafs posting a record of 9-2-2 over that span. Now with both teams currently on the rise, the Battle of Ontario looks to be settling in for a second phase.

One new face in this rivalry is Sens forward Alex Burrows, who was acquired in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks on February 27th, 2017, and he's excited to enter the fray.

"I've watched a lot of those games on TV from Vancouver where we'd be getting ready for a tilt against the Oilers or Flames back in the day," recalled Burrows about his previous exposure to the Battle of Ontario. "At 4 o'clock when we rolled into the rink, we'd always have Hockey Night in Canada on so we could watch those Montreal/Ottawa, Toronto/Montreal and the Battle of Ontario games. Even as a kid, I remember watcing playoff hockey between those two teams so now to be a part of it is going to be a lot of fun."

Now it's his turn to add to the rivalry and Burrows is quite looking forward to all that comes along with hosting Toronto at Canadian Tire Centre.

"These are the games that are so easy to wake up for," said Burrows about his first game against the Maple Leafs as a Senator. "You just know that the building is going to be buzzing and there's going to be a lot of energy. They're also probably the top team in the league right now so it's a good measuring stick game for us."

Burrows notched a milestone goal in the Sens' 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils on Thursday netting his 200th NHL goal midway through the second period off of a slick feed from Erik Karlsson on the power play. The 36-year old winger has appeared in 849 games over his career with all but 27 of them as a member of the Canucks.

Video: NJD@OTT: Burrows scores his 200th career NHL goal

 

2. Karlsson producing again

Karlsson, along with the rest of the team, struggled to produce offence in the captain's first game back this past Tuesday against the Canucks but he bounced back on Thursday in a big way. Karlsson assisted on each of the Sens' first 3 goals against the Devils including a pair of primary assists on the power play to Kyle Turris and the aforementioned Burrows marker.

Video: NJD@OTT: Turris buries one five-hole for a PPG

While the production increased game-over-game for Karlsson, he spoke with the media on Thursday and shared that he felt about the same on the ice for both contests.

"I felt like I did last game", Karlsson said following the overtime loss to the Devils. "I don't think it was very different...maybe I wasn't as tired but that's expected."

Karlsson finished last season with 71 points (17 goals, 54 assists) in 77 games played and has lead the Senators in scoring each of the past 4 seasons.

 

3. Previous meeting

These teams last faced off on February 18th, 2017 in Toronto where the Sens rattled off 4 goals in the third period to beat the Leafs 6-3. Mark Stone lead the Senators offensively recording points on 5 of the team's 6 goals (1G, 4A) while Derick Brassard (2G, 1A), Kyle Turris (3A) and Erik Karlsson (2A) all had multi-point nights in the victory. Craig Anderson was strong in goal for the Sens turning aside 34 of the 37 shots he faced to earn the decision.

Full highlights from that game can be found below...

Video: Stone, Senators rally after blowing lead

 

4. From yesterday

Sens head coach Guy Boucher shared a few injury updates after yesterday's practice and it looks like both Mark Borowiecki and Zack Smith will be unavailble for tonight's game. Borowiecki (day-to-day) missed the Sens' last game after a trio of fights over a three game span and described his upper-body injury as "wear and tear" but he was confident it won't be a re-occuring issue for this season. Smith, who left Thursday's contest before the third period, will be out for approximately a week according to the coach.

In some good injury news, both Colin White and Ben Harpur joined the Sens for their practice on Friday. They were each sporting non-contact jerseys but their involvement in a team skate is definitely encouraging as they work towards a return to game action.

Tweet from @Senators: #Sens practice underway at CTC. Colin White and Ben Harpur out with the team today. pic.twitter.com/WLUeygrWWG

In case you missed it, you can watch Boucher's full media scrum here:

Video: Oct 20: Practice Media - Guy Boucher

 

5. Where to watch

Sens and Leafs on Saturday night...doesn't get much better than that. Grab some tickets and a few buddies and come on out to Canadian Tire Centre to check out this updated version of the Battle of Ontario in person.

Things kick off at 7 p.m. and if you aren't able to make it to the rink you can catch the game on CBC, City and TVAS.

Tweet from @Senators: The first edition of the Battle of Ontario is tomorrow and there's still time to reserve your spot! BE THERE: https://t.co/tkenhFppSk pic.twitter.com/FboLxApS3c

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