The Battle of Ontario is making its all-but-assured final stop of the season on Saturday night, as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators face off on Hockey Night in Canada. While we all dream of another playoff series between the two provincial rivals someday, it’s looking like yet another lost season for the Senators, who are at the bottom of the Atlantic Division going into this game. But hey, giving the Leafs a hard time is a victory they’d surely accept at this point in the season, and they’ve got a habit of doing just that, so let’s dive into what we can expect ahead of puck drop.
Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Senators
The Maple Leafs are road favourites, sitting at -140 on the money line.
Maple Leafs vs. Senators odds
|Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds
|Senators Moneyline Odds
|Puck Line odds
|Maple Leafs -1.5 (+165), Senators +1.5 (-200)
|Total Goals line
|6.5 goals (over -135, under +115)
|Feb. 10, 7:00 p.m. ET
|Broadcast: CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports (French)
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
About the Maple Leafs (26-15-8 SU, 15-34 ATS, 25-22-2 o/u)
After an extremely lukewarm defeat to the New York Islanders on Monday, the Leafs put up an improved performance against the Dallas Stars, a team who they, for whatever reason, have always found a way to get the upper hand on.
The big difference makers in this game were surprise surprise, the Core Four. William Nylander put Toronto up with a rocket six and a half minutes into the first period, and while Dallas pulled ahead before the first period could end, two more powerplay tallies from John Tavares and Auston Matthews in the second flipped the game back to Toronto’s favour in the second. Dallas was awarded a penalty shot following some obstruction by Mark Giordano in the middle of the third period, and Evgenii Dadonov responded with an equalizer – only for the Leafs to restore their lead through Mitch Marner about 30 seconds later, and extend it through a second Nylander goal 20 seconds after that. Wyatt Johnson gave them one last scare with his 15th of the season after a few missed empty net attempts, but the blue and white held on for the win.
It’s a nice response from the star players after such a poor effort early in the week, though the secondary scoring is becoming a big, big problem now. In the last ten games, no forward who isn’t a Core Four member has more than a single goal, with the “other eight” combining for five goals – as many as Marner in the same stretch or three fewer than Matthews. Toronto will desperately need to sort this out if they want to have success in the spring.
About the Senators (20-25-2 SU, 23-24 ATS, 26-18-3 o/u)
Slowly but surely, Ottawa is starting to find a bit of consistency in their game. After a putrid 3-12 run across the middle of December and January which led to the end of DJ Smith’s time with the team, the Senators have gone 6-2-2 in their last ten, by far their best run of form this year. Granted, the list of W’s isn’t exactly murderer’s row, with the likes of San Jose, Nashville, and two Montreal’s on it, but progress is still progress and at this stage in the season, that’s what Jacques Martin is setting out to provide them.
The Senators are one of the last teams to come out of the All-Star break, with their last game coming on January 31st against the Red Wings. In that one, the Sens came into Detroit hungry for a second consecutive win and came out with exactly what they wanted, rallying from an initial deficit in the second period, almost throwing it away with a blown third-period lead, but ultimately coming out ahead thanks to Shane Pinto’s second of the year in overtime. Pinto, who missed the first half of the season with a suspension related to sports betting, has performed well out of the gate, scoring four points in his first six games back.
The two teams have crossed paths three times already this season, with this one being their first get-together in a little over a month. Going back to December 27th, the Leafs came storming out of the gate with goals 23 seconds apart from each other in the first period, only to let Ottawa take control. A mid-second period shorthanded tally from Parker Kelly put the Sens within one, and Drake Batherson tied things up with five and a half minutes remaining. In the third, it was Batherson who struck once again to put Ottawa ahead, and with two and a half minutes remaining, Brady Tkachuk sealed the deal with an empty netter.
|Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs Lines
|Today’s Ottawa Senators Lines
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Noah Gregor
Pontus Holmberg – Bobby McMann – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren
Starting In Goal
9-4-6, 3.38 GAA, 0.879 SV%
Brady Tkachuk – Josh Norris – Drake Batherson
Mathieu Joseph – Tim Stutzle – Claude Giroux
Ridly Greig – Shane Pinto – Vladimir Tarasenko
Parker Kelly – Mark Kastelic – Zack MacEwen
Thomas Chabot – Artem Zub
Jakob Chychrun – Travis Hamonic
Erik Brannstrom – Jacob Bernard-Docker
Starting In Goal
12-16-2, 3.38 GAA, 0.889 SV%
Little is expected in terms of change from the two teams. Toronto could see a change on the blue line in the coming hours, as they recalled Max Lajoie as a precaution yesterday – but nothing has been confirmed in any direction, even in terms of what player they could be looking to swap out.
As for the Sens, this is probably the fullest version of their lineup to play in the season series. While the preseason predictions were proven excessive, it’s hard not to look at this roster and wonder if they can put up a little more than they have this year. As frustrating as it is that they’re among the NHL’s top about-to-leap teams that lever leaps, I get why everyone gets excited about them.
Tyler Bertuzzi (TOR) to get over 0.5 points
The Leafs don’t have any updates on the injury front. They’re still in a holding pattern with Joseph Woll (ankle), Calle Jarnkrok (knuckle) and David Kampf (undisclosed). On the Senators front, Anton Forsberg is potentially returning to the lineup tonight after missing about a month to a groin injury, but he’ll be backing up Korpisalo.
- The Senators are up 2-1 in the season series, but Toronto has the upper hand across the battle over the past couple of years, going 7-3 straight up since October 2021. The Senators always find a way to keep it close, though, as they flip the script and have a 7-3 puck line edge in those games. The total goals line has been split, with five overs and five unders.
- The Senators have been on a pretty decent run of late, with a 6-4 record in their last ten on both the money line and puck line. They’ve been less effective at home, though, losing three of their last five.
- Toronto is 5-5 in their last ten overall, with a porous 2-8 record against the puck line. They fare better both in their last five games (4-1 straight up, 2-3 puck line), and in their last ten road games (6-4 straight up, 4-6 puck line).
Player Prop Trends
- Senators star forward Tim Stutzle has been the team’s most productive forward of late, producing 13 points (4G 9A) in his last ten games.
- Meanwhile, Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk has been their top shooter, producing five goals and 38 shots to go with seven assists in his last ten. As mentioned above, Stutzle isn’t far behind him with four goals, which is where Vladimir Tarasenko also sits.
- Toronto’s leaders in their last ten are the usual suspects – Matthews (8G + 5A, 39 shots), Marner (5G 5A, 25 shots), and Nylander (4G 4A, 38 shots). What’s been good to see is John Tavares get back in a groove, with six points in his last three games.
Wagers To Consider
- Your usual Auston Matthews goal heat check: He’s -130 any time. Matthews has goals in six of his last eight games. He also has points in all eight of those games, though has only picked up multiple in three of them, so keep that in mind if you want to try to take on the line of 1.5 points at +140.
- It’s hard to look at any Leafs forward outside of the core four right now and feel confident that they’re going to break out. There are a lot of names that you think *should* be able to contribute at a given moment, but you’re still left wanting more. All you can go with is a gut feeling here, so if anyone else wants to take a blind leap of faith with me, I wonder if we see Tyler Bertuzzi in the mix tonight. He’s +350 for an anytime goal and +125 for a point, and you have to think he starts to turn process into results eventually… right?
- I always look to Brady Tkachuk in these Battle of Ontario matchups, and given that he’s generally hot right now, there’s all the more reason to do so. He sits at +125 for a goal, +120 to clear 3.5 shots, and -175 to get a point. I’d give him a strong look on shots – he’ll want to secure this season series for his team, and he’s hit it in his last two games, recently going on a run where he cleared the line in eight of nine games as well.
- This game can go a lot of ways, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Toronto broke the puck line tonight. They’ve had a few games to tune up without getting too overworked, and the Senators still haven’t played out of the break. Combine that with having the better overall roster, and it’s hard to not like them tonight. I wouldn’t be overly shocked if the Senators came out and treated this like their Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and spoiled the show, but if I had to guess,