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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, November 17th (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (15-2-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (7-8-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators will try to continue their early-season dominance this evening, when they pay a visit to Air Canada Centre for a battle with the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Senators are off to an amazing 15-2-0 start to the season and have won 10 of their last 11 contests. Ottawa leads the NHL with 30 points -- 17 more points than it had after the club's first 17 games last year.

Ottawa has won back-to-back games since dropping just its second test of the year against Washington on November 8.

The latest triumph came in Thursday's home test against Buffalo. Daniel Alfredsson celebrated his 800th game in the NHL with a two-goal performance and the Senators edged the Sabres, 3-2, at Scotiabank Place.

Alfredsson, who has spent his entire 12-year career with Ottawa, scored twice in the first period and is now one behind Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk for the NHL goal-scoring lead with 15 goals.

Shean Donovan also lit the lamp, while Martin Gerber stopped 35 shots for the Senators.

Gerber has been phenomenal this season, as he has posted a 12-1-0 record, .943 save percentage and 1.75 goals against average. However, Gerber isn't even listed on the Eastern Conference All-Star ballot because Ray Emery came into the season as the team's starting goaltender.

On top of Gerber's excellent play this year, Emery has also battled injuries in the early portion of the season. He started the campaign on the shelf with a wrist injury and is questionable for tonight's contest with back spasms. Emery has been in net for just three games this year after playing in 58 contests a year ago.

The Sens are playing the first test of a three-game road trip tonight. Ottawa is a perfect 5-0-0 as the visiting team this season.

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs will try to halt a three-game skid when they take the ice tonight. Toronto is 0-1-2 in its last three tests and is coming off Thursday's regulation setback in Boston. Peter Schaefer scored two goals and assisted on another to help the Bruins down the Leafs, 5-2.

Kyle Wellwood and Alexei Ponikarovsky tallied for Toronto, which has dropped six of its last eight contests. Andrew Raycroft allowed five goals on 27 shots.

Wellwood has scored all three of his goals this season in his last two outings.

Toronto, which is 3-4-4 at the ACC, is playing the first of two straight at home this evening. The Leafs will also welcome Boston to town on Tuesday.

The Senators are 3-0 against Toronto this season and have taken four five and seven of the last nine encounters with the Leafs. Ottawa has also been victorious in four of its last five trips to Air Canada Centre.

11/17 10:29:08 ET


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