Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators on Oct. 30, 2011

The Ottawa Senators are playing a very dangerous game, but they aren’t facing any of the consequences.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators on Oct. 30, 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:
The Ottawa Senators are playing a very dangerous game, but they aren’t facing any of the consequences. Again, they fell behind early, this time against the New York Rangers, but charged back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period to win it in a shootout. Heart, guts, pride…absolutely. A smart long-term strategy? Not so much.

THE SUBPLOTS: It’s believed the Senators have called up Nikita Filatov from AHL Binghamton to replace captain Daniel Alfredsson, who took a blatant hit to the head from Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski Saturday night (over to you, Brendan Shanahan). Alfredsson appeared to suffer a concussion on the play and is unlikely to play against the Maple Leafs, meaning Filatov will get another chance to impress the coaching staff here after earning an early-season demotion.

THE WILDCARD: Filip Kuba, Senators. Perhaps no players has earned more scorn from the home fans than Kuba over the past year or so, as tentative play, poor decision-making and lackadaisical effort eroded his game badly last season. Kuba has been playing with much more confidence over the past couple of weeks, however, and is thriving playing alongside Erik Karlsson. It’s paying off on the scoresheet, too — Kuba picked up three helpers against the Rangers.

THE OPPONENT: The Senators are in a dogfight with the Maple Leafs for the title of “most surprising team” in the early going. While Ottawa has shocked many who saw them as a certain basement-dweller by getting into the playoff mix, the Leafs have suddenly gone from bubble team to division leader. It’s still early, but if these trends continue, the Battle of Ontario might actually become a battle, rather than the snooze-fest we’ve all come to loathe thanks to years of poor play.

THE QUOTE: “Jason’s been real good, and he’s an important player for us. He stirs our offence all the time, not only him, but Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek have been important to our offence, along with Sergei Gonchar on the back end. Our leadership job has done a real good job to this point in the season making sure our team is prepared.” — Senators coach Paul MacLean on Jason Spezza and the rest of the Senators’ veteran leadership group.

THE SICK BAY: Senators — D Matt Carkner (knee), C Peter Regin (shoulder) RW Bobby Butler (groin), RW Daniel Alfredsson (head). Leafs — RW Colby Armstrong (ankle sprain), G James Reimer (concussion).

THE PREDICTION: They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Regardless, I’m going to go ahead and pick THIS as the game the Senators hit a wall. They can’t keep falling behind and picking up late wins…can they? Senators 3, Maple Leafs 5. (SEE WHO THE REST OF OUR PREDICTION PANEL LIKES IN THIS ONE).

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