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The Toronto Maple Leafs as they normally do have had a difficult time against the Ottawa Senators this season, even though their talented provincial rival are at the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings with a 20-25-2 record. Ottawa was victorious in both outings at Scotiabank Arena, and the Leafs only win came in December, when Joseph Woll performance was miraculous before he suffered a high-ankle sprain in the third period of the 4-3 victory.
Toronto will hope to draw even the final meeting of the Battle of Ontario in Kanata, ON on Saturday night. Martin Jones, who relieved Woll late in that contest, will make his first start since January 20th, and the Leafs will be shifting some things around on the blueline.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe indicated that veteran defenseman Mark Giordano is out with a lower-body injury that could keep him out slightly longer than day-to-day, and blueliner Conor Timmins is out with an illness. The absences necessitated the recall of Maxime Lajoie from the AHL Marlies on Friday, but based on the pairings from Saturday’s morning skate, William Lagesson will play for the first time since late December on the left side with Timothy Liljegren.
Joonas Korpisalo will get the start for the Sens, who in spite of the bottom-dwelling status, have played better under veteran bench boss Jacques Martin (6-2-2 in their last 10).
The Leafs could have their hand in some deadline maneuvers if the price is right. To that end, GM Brad Treliving and another Toronto scout were spotted in Buffalo at Saturday afternoon’s Sabres - St. Louis Blues game.
The Sabres have a half-dozen pending unrestricted free agents that could help address the Leafs defensive and forward depth that would not cost them a significant amount of their remaining draft capital. Toronto could have interest in veteran right-handed blueliner Erik Johnson or speedy winger Eric Robinson, both who could help shore up the Leafs recently woeful penalty killing.
This scouting trip does not rule out Treliving taking a look at the Blues, but St. Louis is in the thick of the wildcard race in the Western Conference. Making a move for a defenseman like Colton Parayko (whose name pops up periodically in trade rumors) would be difficult to imagine in-season for Toronto, who would be unable to fit in his $6.5 million cap hit without moving out a significant salary of their own.