Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 81 — Maple Leafs vs. Senators
4:30 PM: Get set for puck drop with Gord Wilson and Sens TV.
4:00 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie is with Sens defenceman Marc Methot who talks about his invitation to play with Team Canada at the World Championships. Take a look...
Marc also talked about tonight's game with the Maple Leafs. Here's what he had to say...
On the motivation:
It's Saturday, I woke up this morning and any time you play Toronto it's something you look forward to as the day progresses. I know the fans are all pumped up for it so we're just going to have some fun and hopefully put on a good show.
On taking solace in a rival's failings:
No, the politically correct answer to that question would be I'm concerned with my own team. Obviously we have a good rivalry with them and similarly with Montreal, I feel for them in a sense because it's obviously it's no fun to go down that way but it is what it is. Like I said, they're not exactly friends of ours.
On trying to avoid a sweep:
I didn't actually know about that stat until earlier, I think I saw it on Twitter. There's a little incentive right there to win this game.
3:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Senators and Maple Leafs.
Hemsky - Spezza - Michalek
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Hoffman - Pageau - Condra
Greening - Smith - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Wiercioch - Gryba
Toronto Maple Leafs
van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Kessel
Raymond - Kadri - Clarkson
Bodie - McClement - Kulemin
Orr - Holland
Gleason - Phaneuf
Granberg - Gardiner
Rielly - Franson
1:45 PM: Sens captain Jason Spezza spoke to the media ahead of tonight's game against the Maple Leafs. Here's what he had to say...
On if the rivalry is still exciting without playoff implications:
Yeah, I think for us it's important games and it's a big deal for our fanbase when we play the Leafs and Toronto. It's a rivalry and obviously it's two pretty disappointed teams, I'm sure. Where we're at at this point in the year, nobody expected either one to be here but they're still important games for us.
On the type of game tonight:
For us we're just going to work and try to play right and do the things we're supposed to do as a team to win hockey games to try and win the game. For us that's playing hard and I'm sure they're going to want to do the same thing. You want to end the season on a positive note for the group. I think you're playing for each other at this point.
On trying to beat Toronto for the first time this season:
They've had our number now for probably the last year and a half. I think this year losing the games we've lost to them probably cost us a playoff spot and that's kind of how it goes when you lose to division teams. We want to try to beat them obviously to get over the hump a bit.
On reflecting on his season:
There's been lots of reflecting when you're out as early as we were. I think there's been soul searching all year as to what's going on and why we've been struggling but you try to stay in the present. You can't let your guard down, you have to play hard, you have to play these last two games with good intensity because they're still high quality games, they're still physical games. You can't let your guard down at all. You don't think too much at this point, there's lots of time for reflecting with the long summer we're going to have.
On the game potentially being his last home game in Ottawa;
I don't look at it that way. I think that when you do have a season of disappointment there's going to be change in the room. This isn't going to be the same group next year and we're all well aware of that.
1:00 PM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean passed along his updates after today's morning skate. Here's what he had to say...
On the lineup:
We're going to wait until warmup before we actually finalize it. We're going to wait until tonight.
On what impacts the decision to play players:
All the people that are here we've seen play so it's just a matter of who we feel gives us a better chance to win tonight. It comes down to the last people on the roster. It gives you another opportunity to evaluate people in a National Hockey League game but the basic part of it is who gives us the best chance to win the game.
On keeping the room motivated after elimination:
I think for all of us it is (difficult) but at the same time I'm a big believer that you have to come here every day and try to get better. It's an 82 game schedule, every game means something for someone. We just mentioned people are being evaluated on if they can play in the league, it's an opportunity to show if they can play in the league. There's value in every game but when the playoffs are out of the picture, that's a big motivator for every player. It makes it harder but at the same time every game is still important.
On if snapping the losing streak to the Leafs adds motivation:
Any time we play the Leafs I think it's a pretty good motivator, it's always a good game, it's always a contested game. We expect the same thing.
On what has caused the losing streak to Toronto:
I'd have to go look at all that video tape to figure all that out. They have our number so we have to find a way and the only way to do that is to beat them. Tonight's the next opportunity and maybe we can start something ourselves with a win tonight.
We've been pleased, he has come up and shown that he can play in the league but now can he take his game to that level he had in the American Hockey League? Now, he was named an all-star in the American League and that may be asking a lot to be named an all-star in the National Hockey League but that level of play and consistency in providing offence and playing the whole rink that he has in the American League, can he take that step is the next question. He can play in the league but now can he take his game consistently is the next step.
On Hoffman's scoring chances as a good sign:
The chances are there, if you're not getting them you're concerned that he puts himself in a position to get the puck to the net. Does he do it quickly enough or accurately enough? Those are things we still have to look at where he can improve them but we have liked the way he has come up and play with and without the puck.
He was here today and still has to have further tests going into next week. He's still out of the lineup and that's all there is for that.
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators host their final game at Canadian Tire Centre tonight when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Senators are coming off of a 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils during the team's Fan Appreciation Night on Thursday. Mike Hoffman scored the Sens' lone goal in regulation, Erik Karlsson netted the winner and Robin Lehner was immense in goal for the team, earning the game's first star for his efforts in the win.
The Maple Leafs have put together a record of 38-35-8 in 81 games this season with Saturday night's game marking their final appearance in 2013-14. In 40 games away from Toronto this season they have a record of 14-19-7. Their 84 points to this point in the season sees them sixth in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference and outside a playoff position.
The Senators have a record of 0-1-2 in the three games these teams have played this season.
The Sens will have their morning skate at 10:15 AM and I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players' thoughts, Sens TV content, Instagram goodness and more.
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