NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 30th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (19-12-4) at Ottawa Senators (19-9-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators hope that a fourth straight victory on Saturday evening will be enough to give them a share of the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Sens take aim at their second-longest winning streak of the season in a matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who themselves are riding a seven-game point streak.
Ottawa lost the opener of a five-game homestand on March 21 to the Boston Bruins, but has rebounded to win its next three games and sits fifth in the Eastern Conference with 44 points. That is two back of the fourth-seeded Bruins, who have two games in hand and visit the Philadelphia Flyers earlier on Saturday.
The Sens also sit just two points ahead of the Maple Leafs, but have played one fewer game than Toronto.
Ottawa wraps its residency tonight two days after shutting out the New York Rangers 3-0 behind 24 saves from Ben Bishop. It marked the second shutout of his NHL career.
"It's always nice when you get the win against a good club like that," said Bishop. "I thought the guys in front of me played unbelievable."
Andre Benoit broke the scoreless game with a power-play goal with just 49 seconds left in the second period, while Guillaume Latendresse and Colin Greening adding third-period tallies. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Neil each had two assists, with Zibanejad having posted five assists in his last four games.
The effort pushed the Senators' home record this season to 13-2-3 and they are 7-1-2 in their past 10 overall.
The Leafs are keeping pace thanks to a 4-0-3 record in their past seven. They head to Ottawa having won back-to-back home games, including Thursday's 6-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Dion Phaneuf added a tying goal in the third period to his two-assist game, while Joffrey Lupul put home the game- winner with 3:10 left to play.
It was Lupul's seventh goal of the season and they have all come in the five games he has played since missing a majority of the season with a broken forearm.
Jay McClement and Nikolai Kulemin had empty-net goals, Tyler Bozak ended with a goal and two assists, while Phil Kessel had a pair of helpers. James Reimer made 19 saves in the win.
"There were parts of our game that we could have been better at, but I think that happens every game," said Reimer. "We just managed to stay focused and stick to our game plan."
The Maple Leafs have won four of their past five versus the Senators, with the lone loss in that span coming in Ottawa on Feb. 23. Toronto has won a pair of home meetings against its division rival this season and has still taken six of the last nine played in Ottawa.
03/30 10:26:54 ET