OTTAWA -- My, how times have changed.
There was a time when a Maple Leafs-Senators game would be almost a guaranteed sellout, especially with the number of Toronto fans in the barn.
Not any more.
As of this morning, there still were a couple of thousand tickets available for tonight’s contest between the Leafs and Sens at Scotiabank Place.
Perhaps that’s a sign of the times concerning these two struggling teams. The Sens having posted just one regulation victory in their past 10 outings while the Leafs have won just three times all season.
The goaltending matchup tonight will feature Vesa Toskala versus Pascal Leclaire, Sens coach Cory Clouston and Toronto bench boss Ron Wilson confirmed this morning.
With apologies to Phil Kessel and his two-goal performance in Chicago Friday night, the star for the Maple Leafs easily was Toskala, who made a number of highlight reel saves in the 3-2 Toronto loss to the Blackhawks.
“I feel good and healthy right now,” Toskala said.
That having been said, Toskala still is searching for his first victory of the young season. He, like the Leaf brass, is hoping that elusive victory might come tonight versus an Ottawa team that HE has gone 6-3-1 against in his career, including two shutouts and a 2.62 goals-against average.
Sens forward Jason Spezza has just one goal heading into tonight’s contest, a stat he certainly is not proud of.
While most of his teammates were off the ice after practice Monday, Spezza stayed behind for almost an hour working on his shot.
“When you struggle like that, you just have to keep working and hope you get out of it,” Spezza said.
“I don’t want to be known as a loser.”
- Leafs coach Ron Wilson, after the Leafs’ morning skate today.
Alexei Ponikarovsky-Matt Stajan-Phil Kessel
Jason Blake-Mikhail Grabovski-Nik Hagman
Nikolai Kulemin-John Mitchell-Lee Stempniak
Jamal Mayers-Rickard Wallin-Colton Orr
Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson
Alexei Kovalev-Mike Fisher-Jonathan Cheechoo
Nick Foligno-Jesse Winchester-Chris Neil
Jarkko Ruutu-Chris Kelly-Shean Donovan