The Ottawa Senators battled hard, but it wasn’t enough against the firepower of the Washington Capitals on Friday night. The Senators stuck around in the game and took a 4-3 deficit late into the third. An empty netter put an end to their comeback bid, though, as the Capitals left Kanata with a 5-3 victory. It’s been that kind of season for the Senators.
They’ve been competitive in spots against good teams, but ultimately can’t get over the hump because of a lack of an extra play or two. The good news for the Senators has been that they’ve shown progress from last season. Instead of being a walking mat, Ottawa has been able to show a bit of pushback. The bad news is that they’ve been losing a lot of games in the last month.
They will need more of a pushback than they exhibited last night. The Senators will be on a back-to-back versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. It’s not the easiest back-to-back, as they have to deal with two of the most high-powered offences in the NHL. They were unable to contain the Capitals last night, which included a shorthanded goal, and the Senators’ defence is going to be under a lot of pressure Saturday on HNIC as well.
The Maple Leafs, who have looked electric offensively recently, are likely going to put plenty of strain on their defence and Craig Anderson in the crease. Marcus Hogberg got the nod for the Senators against the Capitals last night. He didn’t hold up exceptionally well, but it was to be expected against the high-octane Capitals. Hogberg allowed 4 goals on 36 shots for a 0.889 save percentage.
The goaltending situation has been awfully murky for the Senators this season. Between Anderson and Hogberg, there hasn’t been much consistency to find in net for the Senators. Some help on the blueline would help, too. For the Senators to see a considerable jump in 2020-21, it’s going to take a much better effort in the defensive zone. The same goes for the Maple Leafs, but with regards to the playoffs this spring.
To find success, the blueline and Frederik Andersen must be on point. It’s been rather hit and miss, with more misses in Toronto. Andersen has the talent, but has been too streaky in 2019-20. Michael Hutchinson will be called on Saturday night to provide a decent effort against the Senators. Decent may just be enough to get the win here. Head below for our free Senators vs. Maple Leafs pick.
Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Odds:
Senators vs. Maple Leafs Prediction:
With the Senators struggling in their defensive zone, they might as well throw the kitchen sink at the Maple Leafs on the opposite end of the ice. I think that’s what it might take to pull off the upset in Toronto tonight. Attempting to slow the game down and win a defensive battle will likely backfire, because they do not have the talent to counter their terrific offence. They are already aware that Michael Hutchinson is going to be in net instead of the starter, Frederik Andersen.
That should give the Senators a better shot at winning a high-scoring contest. Hutchinson’s issues have been well-documented in the crease this year. The Leafs’ backup netminder enters Saturday with a 3.83 GAA and 0.885 save percentage. He has allowed 7 goals in his last two outings for a save percentage below 0.80.
As a collective unit, the Leafs’ defence hasn’t given Andersen and Hutchinson good looks at the puck, though. Everybody is going to have to be better for the Leafs to go deep into the playoffs. If not, it’s going to be yet another early exit in the first-round in Toronto. The Leafs are 24th in the NHL with 3.25 goals against per game. They have a razor sharp offence, but it’s a lot to expect them to finally beat the Bruins with offence alone, though.
There haven’t been any indications that there are improvements being made. In their previous ten outings, the Maple Leafs have yielded 3.6 goals per contest. They are a perfect 2-0 since the All-Star break thanks to an offence which scored 5 goals in each game. Despite allowing 3.6 goals in their last ten matchups, the offence managed to bury 4 goals per game to carry the load. Toronto head into Saturday night with the 3rd best overall offence in the league, having recorded an average of 3.63 goals per game.
Craig Anderson will have to focused or this game could get away from the Senators. He owns a 3.25 GAA and 0.899 save percentage, so it hasn’t been a good season at all for him. Anderson hasn’t been particularly good against the Leafs in his career, which features a 2.98 GAA in 31 games.
The Senators have been able to score against the Leafs at a healthy clip of late, with an average of 4.4 goals per game in their previous five meetings. If they win it’s going to be because of another strong offensive effort. The OVER has gone 9-1 in their last ten meetings. We should see another OVER hit between the Senators and Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.