Series (Game 3 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

Senators 2

(16-12-4, 36 pts)

Maple Leafs 3

(12-14-7, 31 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 14, 2009

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
OTT 0 1 12
TOR 0 2 13

M. Komisarek (Maple Leafs - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

M. Fisher (Senators - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Ponikarovsky (Maple Leafs - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Senators-Maple Leafs Preview


The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to have finally moved past their horrific start. The Ottawa Senators are hoping Alexei Kovalev can do likewise after finally reaching a long-awaited personal milestone.

The teams meet at Air Canada Centre on Monday night looking to continue their respective strong play of late.

The Maple Leafs (11-14-7) have won seven of 10, helping to put a 1-7-5 start behind them. Toronto is still last in the Northeast but is only four points behind Montreal for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto's resurgence can be traced to the strong play of linemates Matt Stajan and Phil Kessel. The players combined for three goals and three assists as the Maple Leafs extended their home winning streak to three with a 6-3 victory over Washington on Saturday night.

"I think we've been playing some solid hockey for a number of weeks," said Stajan, who has eight goals and 10 assists in 18 games playing on a line with Kessel. "As a whole, we're getting confidence on home ice."

Kessel, who was acquired from Boston prior to the season and missed the first 12 games due to shoulder surgery, has 11 goals and eight assists in 20 games.

Toronto has not won four straight at home since closing the 2006-07 season with nine consecutive victories.

The Senators (16-11-4) signed Kovalev in the offseason knowing they would likely deal disgruntled Dany Heatley, which they eventually did to San Jose. The veteran right wing totaled 61 goals his previous two seasons with Montreal but failed to get on track as Ottawa sputtered offensively.

Kovalev, though, recorded a hat trick -- highlighted by his 400th goal -- in a 4-2 victory over Carolina on Saturday. He had four goals in 27 games and endured a 16-game drought before opening the scoring 7:48 into the first period.

"It's always great to pass that point," said Kovalev, who snapped a 2-all tie with 3:04 to play before adding an empty-netter in the final minute. "I know it's been 14 or 15 (games since he's scored) or something like that, so I could have done that early but now I can forget about it."

Kovalev had two assists -- both on goals by Mike Fisher -- in Ottawa's 3-2 victory over Toronto on Nov. 17 in the most recent meeting.

The Senators have won both games between the teams this season.

Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliott will likely make his first start versus the Maple Leafs this season as Pascal Leclaire continues to sit out with a fractured cheekbone.

Elliott is 1-1-1 with a 3.01 goals-against average against Toronto.