Maple Leafs-Senators Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 17, 2012
Erik Karlsson has already joined elite company. In the process, he's doing the same for the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson looks to continue his torrid scoring pace and help the Senators create some breathing room atop the Northeast Division when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The 21-year-old Karlsson leads all NHL defensemen with 71 points, a franchise record that has also made him the youngest blue-liner with that many points since Hall of Famer Brian Leetch finished with 71 in 1988-89. Karlsson has been particularly outstanding over the past 15 games, totaling 11 goals and 12 assists. He's helped Ottawa go 9-3-3 in that span, overtaking reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston by one point for the Northeast lead in the process. The Senators (37-25-10) surpassed the Bruins on Friday, when Karlsson assisted on a goal by Filip Kuba with 1:53 left in overtime to give Ottawa a 2-1 home win over Montreal. "It means a lot of hard work by all those guys across the hallway," coach Paul MacLean said of his players. "They've worked real hard and they've believed in themselves for a long time now and I think the consistency of their effort on a daily basis is being rewarded with the success the team is having. But, we've got 10 games left to play and we have lots of work to do." Karlsson is likely to have a major say in whether Ottawa wins its first division title since 2005-06. He has eight points in his last nine meetings with Toronto (31-32-8), but has failed to register a point in the last two. The Senators failed to convert any of their 49 shots on goal in the most recent matchup with the Maple Leafs on Feb. 4, falling 5-0 at Scotiabank Place to end their three-game winning streak in the season series. They've won three of five overall versus Toronto in 2011-12. Ottawa center Colin Greening has three goals and one assist in his last five games. He also scored in each of the first two meetings this season with Toronto, but has gone without a point in the last three. While Ottawa is surging, Toronto is mired in a 3-13-2 stretch that has dropped it into 12th place and made it likely the club will extend its six-season playoff drought. The Leafs are eight points behind eighth-place Washington in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining. Toronto slightly improved its dim chances at a playoff berth Thursday, winning 3-1 at Tampa Bay. "It's only one game. We'll take that and enjoy the game," said coach Randy Carlyle, who is 2-4-1 since replacing the fired Ron Wilson earlier this month. "That's what the game is supposed to be. It's still a game; it's work, but it is a game. It's a lot more fun when you win." Carlyle might opt to give James Reimer a third consecutive start after he made 34 saves against the Lightning to end a personal five-game slide, during which he compiled a 4.29 goals-against average. Reimer is 4-1-1 with a 1.82 GAA and two shutouts in six career meetings with the Senators, including a dazzling 49-save shutout in the Feb. 4 victory.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson ineligible for season

Roger Federer will miss Olympics, U.S. Open with knee injury

Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019


LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

Andre Johnson worked out for Tennessee Titans

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker