Senators-Maple Leafs Preview

Goaltending has been a much-discussed issue in Toronto over the

last week, but it appears Ben Scrivens has earned another start for

the surprising Maple Leafs.

The rookie could make a second straight start Saturday night

when Toronto hosts the Ottawa Senators, losers of a season-high

five straight.

After Toronto (10-5-1) placed James Reimer on injured reserve

Oct. 23 with concussion-like symptoms, Jonas Gustavsson started the

next five games, but he was inconsistent and Scrivens has started

three of the last four games with a relief appearance in the

other.

After Gustavsson and Scrivens combined to give up 12 goals in

losses to Boston and Florida, Scrivens was solid in a 3-2 shootout

win over St. Louis on Thursday, making 38 saves.

When asked if the rookie would get another chance Saturday,

coach Ron Wilson noted he would “ask the goaltenders’ mothers,” a

reference to a Toronto newspaper story this week in which Reimer’s

mother questioned the severity of her son’s injury.

While the Maple Leafs and Reimer’s agent said he’s making

progress, the development of Scrivens has been one positive that’s

come out of a difficult situation. He is 2-1-0 as a starter, giving

up eight goals.

Wilson said Scrivens is playing well, although he expects there

to be a learning curve as he adjusts to the NHL.

“He’s a talented athlete,” Wilson said. “What he’s got to go

through is the experience of playing in this kind of market,

dealing with the sudden fame and attention. That’s hard to deal

with if you’re (used to) Cornell, where not a heck of a lot is

going on. … This is entirely different.

“There’s no school you go to how to handle a crush of media and

attention. You can’t go anywhere and get that.”

Despite an inconsistent presence in net, the Maple Leafs are

near the top of the Eastern Conference. Phil Kessel has been the

biggest reason for the team’s success, leading the NHL with 12

goals and 23 points. He has a goal in each of his last two

games.

Kessel had three goals and an assist in a 6-5 win over the

Senators on Oct. 8, but was held scoreless in a 3-2 loss in Ottawa

on Oct. 30.

The Senators (7-9-1) haven’t won since that victory over the

Maple Leafs, losing their fifth straight with Friday’s 5-1 defeat

at Buffalo. Craig Anderson was pulled after giving up two goals on

six shots over the first 2 1/2 minutes. Alex Auld stopped 12 of 15

shots the rest of the way.

Coach Paul MacLean didn’t know who would start Saturday, but was

more focused on getting the offense to be aggressive.

Even the return of captain Daniel Alfredsson, who missed the

previous five games with a concussion, failed to help a struggling

offense. Ottawa has scored six goals in the last four games and

went 1 for 4 on the power play after entering the night 0 for 11

the previous four games.

“We have to shore up some things,” forward Nick Foligno said.

”It wasn’t a step back, but we have to re-evaluate how we need to

play.”

Leading scorer Jason Spezza has cooled off considerably. He has

no goals and two assists in his last six games after tallying five

and six in his previous six.

This wasn’t the way the Senators hoped to start a six-game road

trip following an 0-2-1 homestand. Ottawa is 2-5-0 on the road,

giving up 29 goals.

A visit to Air Canada Centre might not help. The Senators have

lost nine of their last 13 visits to Toronto.