Series (Game 2 of 6)

Toronto leads 4-2

Game 1: Tuesday, October 6th
Maple Leafs1
Game 2: Tuesday, November 17th
Maple Leafs2Final
Game 3: Monday, December 14th
Maple Leafs3
Game 4: Saturday, February 6th
Maple Leafs5
Game 5: Saturday, March 6th
Maple Leafs2Final
Game 6: Tuesday, March 16th
Maple Leafs4Final

Maple Leafs 2

(3-11-5, 11 pts)

Senators 3

(9-6-3, 21 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 17, 2009

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
TOR 1 1 02
OTT 1 2 03

P. Leclaire (Senators - G): Saves: 30, Save Pct.: .938

M. Fisher (Senators - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

P. Kessel (Maple Leafs - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Maple Leafs-Senators Preview


While the Ottawa Senators have had trouble closing games recently, their problems pale in comparison to the season-long early game struggles of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The slumping provincial and Northeast Division rivals meet at Ottawa on Tuesday hoping to find some solutions to their woes.

The Senators (8-6-3) went 1-2-1 in their last four games, getting outscored 6-1 in the third period during that span and blowing leads in three of those contests. Ottawa squandered a 1-0 second-period lead in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers and wasted a power play for the final 1:23 of overtime, then was stymied by Henrik Lundqvist in a seven-round shootout.

"It's frustrating. We need the two points," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We take a couple of penalties down the stretch that tire us out and we didn't have the push we wanted to in overtime. We had our chances in the shootout, but it's a bit frustrating we can't win this game."

Brian Elliott made 27 saves and may have earned another start for Ottawa since No. 1 goaltender Pascal Leclaire went 2-3-1 with a 3.55 goals-against average in his last seven games. Leclaire, though, turned aside 26 shots in a 2-1 victory at Toronto on Oct. 6, his first win in three lifetime starts versus the Maple Leafs.

Last-place Toronto (3-10-5) has lost three straight, and a common theme during its brutal start has been the inability to grab a 1-0 lead. The Leafs have been outscored 23-9 in the first period, allowed the first goal in 16 of 18 games and fallen behind at least 2-0 on 10 occasions -- eight times in the opening 20 minutes.

Jonas Gustavsson allowed two goals in the first 1:37 of a 5-2 loss to Calgary on Saturday, and coach Ron Wilson pulled the rookie after he allowed a third goal 9:54 into the game while making just two saves.

"I don't have one," Wilson said when asked for a reason why Toronto has struggled early in games. "I'm sorry."

Vesa Toskala stopped 17 of 19 shots in relief and likely will start Tuesday, in part because of his 6-1-1 mark, 2.23 GAA and two shutouts in his last eight starts against Ottawa. Gustavsson faced the Senators in his first NHL start in the Oct. 6 loss, making 26 saves, and is 3-4-3 with a 3.06 GAA overall.

Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel had a three-game goal streak end Saturday, but did extend his point streak to five games with an assist. The 21-year-old, acquired in an offseason deal with Boston, has four goals and three assists in six games after missing the first 12 following shoulder surgery.