Series (Game 1 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Saturday, October 8th
Maple Leafs6
Game 2: Sunday, October 30th
Maple Leafs2Final
Game 3: Saturday, November 12th
Maple Leafs2
Game 4: Tuesday, January 17th
Maple Leafs2
Game 5: Saturday, February 4th
Maple Leafs5Final
Game 6: Saturday, March 17th
Maple Leafs3Final

Senators 5

(0-2-0, 0 pts)

Maple Leafs 6

(2-0-0, 4 pts)

Coverage: CBC

7:00 PM ET, October 8, 2011

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
OTT 0 0 55
TOR 2 2 26

P. Kessel (Maple Leafs - RW): Goals: 3, Assists: 1

D. Phaneuf (Maple Leafs - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

D. Alfredsson (Senators - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Senators-Maple Leafs Preview


Toronto got off to a strong start last season but ended up missing the playoffs for a sixth consecutive time.

The Maple Leafs hope that's not the case this season as they again try to open with two straight wins Saturday night against the visiting Ottawa Senators.

Toronto won its first four games last year before it went on to lose 11 of 12 and was never able to claw its way back as a serious postseason contender. While the Maple Leafs are trying to avoid a similar result this time, the beginning of the season looks a lot like last year when they beat rivals Montreal and Ottawa in the first two contests.

The Maple Leafs needed 32 saves from James Reimer and a goal with an assist from star defenseman Dion Phaneuf in Thursday's 2-0 home victory over the Canadiens. After playing in just two games last season because of a concussion, Matthew Lombardi added his first goal in more than a year for his new team as Toronto prevailed despite recording 18 shots on goal.

"We're still going to be a work in progress," coach Ron Wilson told the Maple Leafs' official website.

That might be the case but Reimer looks to be in midseason form after posting his fourth career shutout.

"You have to get pretty lucky to get a shutout," said Reimer, who went 20-10-5 with a 2.60 goals-against average as a rookie last season.

One of those shutouts came when he stopped 22 shots in a 1-0 shootout home win over Ottawa on Feb. 19. Reimer went 2-0-1 with a 0.98 GAA against the Senators in 2010-11.

Phil Kessel, who had an assist Thursday, had two goals with three assists in six games versus Ottawa last season.

The Senators dropped three straight to open a dismal 2010-11 season and look to bounce back after falling 5-3 at Detroit on Friday in their opener. Jason Spezza assisted on both of Milan Michalek's third-period goals as Ottawa's comeback from a 5-0 deficit fell short in Paul MacLean's debut as coach.

"One of those nights, you made a mistake, they made you pay," said Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson, who stopped 34 shots.

MacLean, who spent the past six seasons as an assistant to Mike Babcock in Detroit, replaces Cory Clouston who was fired after the Senators totaled 74 points in 2010-11.

While injuries have limited Spezza to 122 games the past two seasons, he's posted 44 goals and 70 assists during that span. However, he has two goals in six games at Toronto over the last two seasons.

Still waiting to make his Toronto debut after spending the last eight seasons in Buffalo, veteran forward Tim Connolly is expected to miss his second straight contest with an upper-body injury.

"Another week and he should be ready to go," Wilson said about Connolly, who had 13 goals and 29 assists in 68 games with the Sabres in 2010-11.

The Maple Leafs and Senators split six meetings last season with the visiting team winning twice in three road games.