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The Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs both missed the playoffs last season. Although it's very early, neither club has showed so far that things will be different in 2009-10.
The Senators will try to end a three-game skid at Air Canada Centre when they take on their provincial rivals Tuesday night.
Last season marked the first time since the Senators came into the league in 1992-93 that postseason hockey did not take place in Ontario. Ottawa (0-1-0) and Toronto (0-1-1) both missed the playoffs and each revamped their rosters to correct that.
Those changes didn't pay off for the Senators in their opener Saturday.
Alex Kovalev made his Ottawa debut and had more penalty minutes (two) than shots (none) in a 5-2 road loss to the Rangers. Fellow newcomer Jonathan Cheechoo also failed to score.
"It's the beginning of the season," Kovalev told the Senators' official Web site. "We looked exactly like a team that was really anxious and so happy to start the season again because the summer was so long. The harder you try, the worse it gets and that's exactly what happened."
It was also a tough debut for goaltender Pascal Leclaire, who stopped all 14 shots with the Senators on the penalty kill. Leclaire, though, stopped 15 of 19 shots at even strength.
"It's nothing that's going to happen overnight," Alfredsson said. "It's a process. I like the feeling we have in the room and in practices, it's been good. Now we're looking forward to playing another game."
Toronto was last in the leagues in goals allowed last year and has seen those woes continue through two games this year. Vesa Toskala was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson at the start of the second period after yielding three goals on eight shots Saturday in a 6-4 loss at Washington.
Coach Ron Wilson would not announce whether Toskala or Gustavsson will start Tuesday, criticizing the pressure-filled climate surrounding the Maple Leafs.
"It's not a microscope, it's an electron microscope," Wilson said. "It's awful hard to feel good about yourself when you're always being questioned. We don't question anything about what Vesa's done.
"We're just going to put in the guy who's playing best at the moment. That's why I said you just have to come to the game and see who comes out of the tunnel first."
The Maple Leafs trailed 6-1 after two periods. Gustavsson saved 16 of 19 shots in his NHL debut.
"It's a combination of things, but it's so unfair just to point fingers at the goalie when other guys are getting beat up the ice for 3-on-1s," Wilson said. "The goalie didn't yell at somebody to fall down or make a bad decision to create a 3-on-1."
Toronto won all three home games against Ottawa last year, with Alexei Ponikarovsky tallying two goals and an assist in those games.
Toskala won two of those games, posting a 1.50 goals-against average. He's 6-1-1 with a 2.23 GAA in his last eight starts against Ottawa.