Red-hot Sens take on Maple Leafs

( – The rolling Ottawa Senators hope to record a fifth
straight victory when they host the rival Toronto Maple Leafs in Wednesday’s
clash at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators opened 2014-15 with a loss at Nashville, but since then has won
four consecutive outings. The winning streak is the longest for Ottawa since
it ended a disappointing 2013-14 season with five straight victories.

At 4-1, Ottawa has a chance tonight to pick up its fifth victory of the season
way ahead of its pace from 2013-14. The Sens didn’t earn win their fifth win
until Nov. 5 last season, going 4-6-4 out of the gate.

Ottawa’s last two victories have come on home ice and the club will try to
stay hot when it plays the third part of a four-game homestand tonight. The
Sens were 18-17-6 as the host last season en route to missing the playoffs for
the first time since 2011.

The Senators picked up their most recent win in Saturday’s matchup against the
Columbus Blue Jackets. Ottawa coughed up an early 2-0 lead in the contest, but
Mike Hoffman’s goal midway through the third period proved to be the game-
winner in a 3-2 victory.

Ottawa grabbed a two-goal cushion after Erik Karlsson scored at the 7:02 mark
of the second period. However, Nick Foligno and David Savard scored 41 seconds
apart later in the period to even the score.

The Blue Jackets would outshoot Ottawa, 17-10, in the third, but it was
Hoffman’s goal that proved to be the difference. Hoffman skated into the
Columbus zone, made a nice move to split a pair of defenders and backhanded it
over Sergei Bobrovsky for a 3-2 edge. It was the second point of the night for
Hoffman, who recorded the primary assist on David Legwand’s goal in the
opening period.

Robin Lehner stopped 38-of-40 shots in the win, improving his record to 2-0
this season.

“We stuck with it and found a way to get two points,” said Ottawa forward
Chris Neil.

Craig Anderson could get the call for Ottawa tonight. The veteran netminder is
7-6-2 with a 2.70 goals against average and .920 save percentage in his career
against Toronto.

The Battle of Ontario has been dominated by the Maple Leafs in recent years,
with Ottawa losing nine of the last 11 encounters against its provincial
neighbors. The Sens were able to halt a six-game slide in the series with a
home victory in the last meeting on April 14, but Toronto still has won five
of its past seven in Canada’s capital city.

Toronto ended a two-game slide on Tuesday, beating the New York Islanders 5-2
at Nassau Coliseum. The Maple Leafs hope to record consecutive wins for the
second time this season when they make the final stop on a three-game road

Phil Kessel scored twice during a four-goal outburst in the second period to
help the Leafs pull away from the Islanders. James van Riemsdyk, Roman Polak
and David Clarkson also scored and Kessel had an assist for the Maple Leafs.

Jonathan Bernier had 34 saves, including 24 over the last two periods after
giving up two goals in the first.

“Bernie played well in net for us and we were able to get some goals for him,”
said Kessel.

Kessel is leading Toronto with four goals and eight points this season and he
is a point-per-game player against Ottawa during his career. The speedy
American has 25 goals and 21 assists in 46 lifetime outings versus the Sens.

James Reimer could get the start in net for Toronto. He boasts a 9-2-1 mark
and a 1.98 GAA in his career against Ottawa.