Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators on April 2, 2011

Optimistic fans of the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs looked at this game in training camp and thought, ‘maybe it will help decide which team gets in the playoffs.’ It is true in one sense

Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators on April 2, 2011
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


THE STORY:
Optimistic fans of the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs looked at this game in training camp and thought, ‘maybe it will help decide which team gets in the playoffs.’ It is true in one sense — the Leafs, while not officially toast with a loss, would be pretty  badly singed. The Senators’ postseason hopes died months ago.

THE SUBPLOTS: The Ottawa Senators can truly claim know who James Reimer was before he was big. The Winnipeg native picked up his first NHL win in the capital on Jan. 1 and hasn’t looked back. Optimus Reim enters this game with a 19-8-4 record, 2.55 GAA and .922 save percentage, giving Leaf fans false hope for this season and real hope for next.

THE WILDCARD: Craig Anderson, Senators. Of course, the last time Reimer was in town, the Senators didn’t have their own dominant goaltender. Mr. Anderson (can’t help but think of The Matrix every time I hear his name) is 9-4-1 since joining the Senators, including a 1-0 shootout win over the Leafs in Toronto. He’ll need to be great again tonight against a motivated Toronto squad.

THE OPPONENT: Mathematics be damned — the Leafs need to win their last four games just to have shot at a playoff spot. Even if they did that, they’d also need a significant collapse by two of the teams ahead of them. Right now they’re 10th with 82 points, trailing ninth-place Carolina by two and seventh and eighth-place Buffalo and New York and by five (the Sabres have a game in hand). It doesn’t look good.

THE QUOTE: “It is a very, very unique story. There was an adjustment for him into each league, but he’s an independent, wise, young man. He has a pretty strong character to do what he did. It’s a complete non-traditional route. He is the ultimate longshot. If he plays as a regular in the NHL, it will be an even bigger story.” — Wade Arnott, agent for Stephane Da Costa, who will make his big league debut with the Senators Saturday night.

THE SICK BAY: G Pascal Leclaire (lower body, out for season), RW Daniel Alfredsson (back, indefinite), C/W Peter Regin (shoulder, out for season), LW Milan Michalek (lower body, probable), D Matt Carkner (knee, 2-4 weeks). D Sergei Gonchar (concussion, indefinite). D Erik Karlsson (leg laceration, day-to-day).

THE PREDICTION: The Senators don’t have a playoff run to look forward, so they’ll have to make do with the remaining schedule. And what a boost it would be to this group if it could essentially put the final nail in the Leafs’ coffin. I predict a Sens win and a crazy night Scotiabank Place. Senators 3, Leafs 2. (CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO THE REST OF OUR PREDICTION PANEL LIKES IN THIS ONE).

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