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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 7th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (15-11-3) at Ottawa Senators (11-14-4), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs look to make it two victories in a row on Saturday night as they hit the road to battle the struggling Ottawa Senators.
The Maple Leafs were 0-3-2 in their previous five games, their longest losing streak of the season, before gutting out a 3-2 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Trevor Smith redirected a shot by Jake Gardiner into the net with 42 seconds left in overtime and Jonathan Bernier made a career-high 48 saves.
The Maple Leafs allowed 50 shots and had just 24 of their own, marking the 10th straight game they were outshot, but it didn't matter thanks to Bernier.
"I'm pretty tired right now, but it feels amazing," Bernier said. "I thought last game we played pretty good and didn't get the result and tonight we found a way to score that big goal at the end."
Nazem Kadri scored a pair of goals in an emotional return to the lineup. He had missed the previous game to attend the funeral of his grandfather. He came into the contest with two goals and a pair of assists over his previous 10 games.
Kadri skated on the top line with James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel, who had two assists, due to an oblique strain to Tyler Bozak and responded with his first multi-goal game of the season.
"I wanted to have a big game for him," Kadri said of his grandfather. "Our team played pretty well for some skids. We had some zone time. I still think we can play better but I think tonight was one of our better ones."
The Senators are hoping to play better tonight after losing for the seventh time in 10 games on Thursday. They were bested 3-1 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who got 33 saves from former Sens goaltender Ben Bishop.
Patrick Wiercioch potted Ottawa's lone goal, while Robin Lehner allowed three goals on 22 shots for the Senators.
Lehner had a simple answer when asked about the difference in the game.
"We couldn't get it past (Bishop) and they could get it past me."
The Maple Leafs have won four straight and seven of their last eight versus the Senators, winning the first of four meetings this season on a 5-4 shootout decision in Toronto on Oct. 5.
Kadri, van Riemsdyk, Mason Raymond and Joffrey Lupul all scored to help the Leafs rally from a 4-2 deficit before both Raymond and Bozak scored in the shootout.
Bernier stopped all 15 shots he faced in regulation and overtime and another two in the shootout after taking over midway through the second period for James Reimer, who allowed four goals on 21 shots.
Kyle Turris had a goal and two assists for the Sens while Cory Conacher, Jared Cowen and Jason Spezza each registered a goal in defeat. Craig Anderson stopped 38-of-42 shots.
Anderson is expected to start tonight and is 6-5-1 with a 2.73 goals against average lifetime versus the Maple Leafs.
Bernier could get the start tonight after his most recent effort. His relief appearance on Oct. 5 marked the first time he had ever faced the Senators.
Reimer had a rare hiccup against Ottawa and is still 8-1-1 against them with a 1.99 GAA and three shutouts.
Toronto has won four of five and eight of its past 11 in Ottawa.
12/07 10:36:16 ET
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