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article imageBattle of Ontario: Leafs head to Ottawa to take on the Sens

By Dave Pitman     Dec 7, 2013 in Sports
Toronto - The Toronto Maple Leafs head to the nation's capital Saturday night to continue the battle of Ontario against the Ottawa Senators.
The Maple Leafs will look to win their second game in a row—something they have not done since Nov. 19. The Leafs were 0-3-2 in their previous five games before ending the streak against Dallas on Thursday night. The Senators haven’t been doing much better; Ottawa comes into tonight’s contest losing seven of their last 10 games.
The Maple Leafs did not skate this morning in Ottawa, so the starting goalie is unclear. Going on numbers alone, James Reimer would be the likely candidate as he has an all-time record of 8-1-1 against the Sens with a 1.99 GAA and three shutouts. Even more impressive are Reimer's numbers when playing in Ottawa with a record of 6-0-0 with 0.85 GAA and .977 save percentage.
Jonathan Bernier has played the Senators just once; he replaced James Reimer in the second period the last time these two teams met en route to a 5-4 comeback win for the Maple Leafs. Bernier turned aside all 15 shots he faced in the game. It is unclear at this point who will get the start, but with the Leafs playing the Bruins tomorrow night in Toronto, both goalies will see action this weekend.
Craig Anderson is expected to start for the Senators and is 6-5-1 with a 2.73 goals against average vs the Maple Leafs.
John Michael Liles was recalled from the Toronto Marlies early Friday morning and is expected to make his season debut tonight.
"He has the ability to move the puck and we’ve had our fair share of concerns on doing that, " said Coach Carlyle of Liles at practice.
Liles had been sent to the AHL Toronto Marlies after eight consecutive seasons playing in the NHL. Toronto’s salary cap concerns, coupled with a few young players who stepped up in training camp left Liles with no spot on the blue line to start the season — something that he chooses not to dwell on. “There’s an opportunity to dwell on it and say, 'Woe is me,' but that’s not really who I am," said Liles.
Joffrey Lupul, who has missed the last five games with a grade-two groin strain, will be a game time decision for the Leafs. He participated in his first full practice on Friday, but wore the green fourth line jersey.
"It's frustrating," Lupul said at practice, "I feel like I'm getting closer, but at this point I can't risk re-aggravating or anything…You don't want to have any days where you go back from whatever 80 percent to 60 percent, that's not good."
With Lupul not being 100 percent, it is expected he will sit out at least one of the weekend games to prevent re-aggravating his groin strain and ultimately sitting out a longer amount of time. Starting tonight, Toronto will play six straight games against teams that made the playoffs last season, including all four conference finalists.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri (43) celebrates his goal with right wing Phil Kessel (81) and...
Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri (43) celebrates his goal with right wing Phil Kessel (81) and defenseman Cody Franson (4) against the Dallas Stars at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafsbeat the Stars 3-2 in overtime
With permission by Reuters / Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today
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