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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, October 4th (All times eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (0-0-1) at Ottawa Senators (1-0-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators will try to sweep a season-opening home-and-home series this evening, when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators were able to earn an overtime win in Wednesday's meeting at Air Canada Centre. Dany Heatley celebrated his new contract by scoring the game- tying goal late in the third and netted the deciding tally in overtime, lifting Ottawa past the Maple Leafs, 4-3. It was the first game of the regular season for both clubs.

Earlier in the day, the Senators reached a long-term agreement with the left winger. Heatley scored 50 goals and had 55 assists during the 2006-07 season.

Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators, while Martin Gerber turned away 26 shots. Gerber is filling in for injured No. 1 goaltender Ray Emery, who will also miss this evening's game with a wrist injury.

The Senators are coming off the most successful season in franchise history after picking up the team's first Eastern Conference championship and making it to the Stanley Cup finals. They made some personnel changes in the offseason, as last year's head coach Bryan Murray vacated his position to become the franchise's general manager. John Paddock takes over for Murray as the new head coach.

Nikolai Antropov had two goals for Toronto, which held a lead twice in the game. Andrew Raycroft turned away 26 shots in a losing effort.

Raycroft earned the start despite the presence of Vesa Toskala, who was obtained in a trade from San Jose on June 22 along with forward Mark Bell. Toskala was expected to become the starter for the Leafs, but Toronto head coach Paul Maurice surprisingly went with Raycroft in the season opener. Toskala could make his Maple Leafs debut tonight.

Toronto's 36-year-old captain Mats Sundin inched closer to one milestone, as he posted a pair of assists in the losing effort. Sundin enters the 2007-08 campaign ranked second in Maple Leafs' all-time goals, second in points, and third in assists.

The longest-tenured player on the team, Sundin still needs just one goal to tie Darryl Sittler for the all-time franchise mark, and now needs five points to match Sittler for the franchise scoring lead.

The Senators have taken six of nine and 13 of the last 17 contests with Toronto. Toronto has also been defeated in six of its last eight trips to Ottawa.

10/04 10:36:51 ET


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