NHL Hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators – Senators Favored
Toronto looks to match its longest winning streak of the season Saturday when it visits the Ottawa Senators.
The Maple Leafs (25-21-6) beat the New York Rangers 2-1 on Wednesday for their fourth three-game winning streak of the season. They won four in a row from Nov. 4-11.
Raycroft made his 13th straight start and second in two nights, turning away 37 shots. Toronto was coming off a 4-1 win at Carolina that opened a five-game road trip.
"I can control my energy level, and you have to do that on a back-to-back," Raycroft said. "I realize how fast you can lose it. It’s really good to be on a roll for all of us."
Raycroft has not had a day off since Jean-Sebastien Aubin started on Dec. 29 in Pittsburgh, and has been substituted out during a game only once since then. He has allowed just three goals in his last three starts.
The Maple Leafs have won five of their last six games, including four on the road. They are in ninth place in the crowded Eastern Conference standings, two points behind three teams for the eighth and final postseason spot.
"I didn’t think we had a lot in the tank because we spent a lot last night," coach Paul Maurice said Wednesday. "You have to find a way to win these games. You can’t do it without your goalie."
Mats Sundin scored his 20th goal of the season Wednesday and has reached that plateau in each of his 16 NHL seasons. Sundin, who also had an assist, leads Toronto in both goals and points (46).
"It’s a big part of my job," said Sundin, who has 516 career goals. "I get paid to be productive and score goals."
The Maple Leafs have gone just 1-3-1 against the Senators (30-21-2) this season and have dropped their last three games against their provincial rivals. Ottawa’s Dany Heatley has four goals and four assists against Toronto.
Heatley was named the NHL’s first star for January after leading the league with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) during the month. He had a goal and an assist in the Senators’ 3-2 win over Washington on Tuesday.
Heatley ranks among the NHL leaders with 31 goals and 67 points. The Senators, who were coming off Monday’s 3-1 loss at Montreal, are 13-3-1 in their last 17 games and are tied with the Canadiens for fourth place in the East.
Jason Spezza also scored for the first time in three games since returning from a knee injury. Mike Fisher assisted on the goal in his first game back after missing 14 because of a knee injury.
"I thought 5-on-5 we played really well, especially after playing the late game (Monday)," said Daniel Alfredsson, who also had a goal against the Capitals. "We’ve got to be happy."
Martin Gerber made 35 saves in just his second start in the last 16 games. Ray Emery, who won the starting job in mid-November, has won six of his last eight starts and is 22-12-1 with a 2.42 goals-against average for the season.
by: Gary Roberts – theSpread.com – Email Us
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