The Ottawa Senators are one of the NHL’s top-scoring teams, but were shut out for the first time this season in their last game.
They could have a good chance of getting back on track in the opener of a six-game road trip in Toronto.
The Senators try to bounce back from their first regulation loss in three weeks Tuesday night when they face Maple Leafs backup goaltender James Reimer, who hasn’t enjoyed much luck between the pipes lately.
Ottawa (25-16-6) is second in the Eastern Conference with 146 goals and had totaled 17 during a four-game winning streak heading into Monday’s matchup with Winnipeg.
The Senators came out flat, however, mustering three first-period shots. They fired 14 on goal in the third and Chris Neil and Bobby Butler both put shots off the crossbar, but they couldn’t find the back of the net in a 2-0 loss.
The Senators, who were 8-0-1 in their previous nine games, now take to the road for their next six.
Ottawa, which hosts the All-Star game on Jan. 29, has done a good job of securing points on the road. The team has won its last three away from Scotiabank Place and has earned points in all nine road games since Dec. 3, going 5-0-4.
“We’re looking forward to it,” coach Paul MacLean said of the trip. “It’s a great opportunity to get back and play. We’re playing lots of games and we’re going to get a chance to get right back in the saddle and get ready to go.”
Toronto coach Ron Wilson has decided to go with Reimer in goal after starting Jonas Gustavsson for the last six games. Reimer, who hasn’t played since New Year’s Eve, is 0-1-1 with a 4.11 goals-against average in his last three starts, and figures he’ll have his hands full facing All-Stars Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek.
“They have a great offense and they have a bunch of great players that seem to have a ton of chemistry,” Reimer said. “For us, we got to make sure our gaps are good and we’re backchecking hard and giving them as little time as possible.”
Reimer is 3-0-1 with a 1.97 GAA in four career starts versus Ottawa, but had a bit of an adventure against the Senators on Oct. 8.
He stopped all 16 shots he faced through two periods as the Leafs built a 4-0 lead. He then allowed five goals on 16 shots in the third as Toronto held on for a 6-5 victory with Phil Kessel recording his third career hat trick.
The Leafs (22-17-5) have lost their two meetings with Ottawa since, with the Senators totaling eight goals and Kessel being held without a score.
Toronto comes in having lost back-to-back contests after winning four in a row. It opened a five-game homestand with a 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, snapping a five-game winning streak at the Air Canada Centre.
Kessel, who has team highs of 24 goals and 48 points, and Joffrey Lupul, who has a team-best 28 assists, have each been held without a point in their last three games.
In an effort to spark the offense, Wilson has decided to insert center Tyler Bozak on the top line between Kessel and Lupul. Bozak has sat out the last seven games with an upper-body injury.
Generating offense could be tough, however, if Ottawa’s Craig Anderson makes his 10th straight start in goal.
Anderson is 8-1-1 with a 1.70 GAA and a shutout since Dec. 30, and is 5-1-0 with a 2.06 GAA lifetime in Toronto.