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Series at a Glance

Ohhhhh, Canada! Leafs-Sens is one to watch

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Posted: Wednesday April 12, 2000 06:33 PM

By Jamie MacDonald,

In some respects it's too bad that one Canadian team will have to knock another out of the playoffs in the first round, but in terms of hockey, Ottawa and Toronto are capable of putting on one of the best shows in hockey.

While the Leafs finished atop the Northeast Division, Ottawa spent most of the season about five points behind and took it to the Leafs on more than a few occasions. So while this may be the most-watched series in Canada, hockey fans all over the globe should take a peek at what these teams have in store.

Season Series Recap

Ottawa 4, Toronto 3

KANATA, Ont., Oct. 9 -- The Maple Leafs got off to their best start in club history (4-0-0) on the strength of a third-period power-play goal from Wade Redden. Ottawa took 50 shots in the game. Steve Thomas was assessed a game misconduct (and a boarding penalty) at the 20-minute mark of the third and the game featured a post-final-whistle scrum.

Ottawa 3, Toronto 1

TORONTO, Dec. 13 -- Ottawa snapped a four-game winless streak and crept to within five points of the division-leading Maple Leafs. Despite the loss, Toronto maintained the league's best home record (14-4-2). In the two games between Toronto and Ottawa, the Senators outshot the Leafs 78-41.

Ottawa 3, Toronto 3

TORONTO, Jan. 24 -- The Senators again held a huge shot advantage (41-28) and a 2-0 lead but eventually settled for a 3-3 tie. Toronto's Igor Korolev scored two goals, including the game's final goal, which forced the OT. The Leafs killed off a 4-on-3 in the extra frame and with the teams splitting two points, Ottawa remained five points behind Toronto in the division.

Toronto 4, Ottawa 2

KANATA, Ont., March 11 -- It took four years, but the Maple Leafs finally won a game at the Corel Center. Yanic Perreault scored the second and third goals of the game in a 22-second span to give Toronto a 3-0 lead from which they would not look back. Again, Ottawa held a definitive advantage in chances, with a 45-25 edge, but the Leafs improved to 27-6-1 when they score first. In the second period, Marian Hossa's stick struck Bryan Berard in the right eye after the Senators forward followed through on a shot.

Ottawa 3, Toronto 2

KANATA, Ont., March 23 -- Tom Barrasso came up with a series of solid saves in the final minutes to make Radek Bonk's go-ahead power-play goal stand up and help the Senators to a 3-2 victory over the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs. Ottawa ran its record to 6-1-1 against the Maple Leafs since February 28, 1994.

Storylines We're Following

Home, Sweet, Home

That home record is something of beauty -- for both teams. Looks so good it's like looking in the mirror. Each team is 24-12-5 at home. Home-ice advantages aren't what they used to be, but it's clear each team plays better. Breaking serve on the road just once may put one of these teams in the driver's seat.


Bryan Berard will be on everyone's mind during this series (and he finds out this week if he can travel to watch the games), but the Senators are more affected by the injury bug. Defenseman Wade Redden was taken for X-rays after being hit in the foot by a shot Sunday afternoon. Goaltender Tom Barrasso hasn't played since April 2 because of an injured left index finger. Among the forwards, Shawn McEachern's fractured left thumb will keep him out at least a couple of games and because of an injured shoulder, Kevin Dineen is out at least a week.

Man of the Hour

Curtis Joseph is one of those guys you hear about who can win a series on his own. Comes back to his hometown as a free agent last year, ties the franchise record for wins. Comes back for his second season ... and breaks that record. He's ready to win a few playoff games, too.

Man on the Spot

In seven starts since being traded to the Senators, Tom Barrasso went 3-4-0 with a .879 save percentage. Ottawa made a gut decision to go with the seasoned Barrasso over Ron Tugnutt, and now the former Calder winner and two-time Cup champ has to make that investment pay out.

Sergei Berezin Never, we repeat never, met a shot he didn't like
Daniil Markov Missed 8 games with broken left foot but says he's ready to go
Darcy Tucker Talks of playing the kind of game that made Claude Lemieux infamous
City bashing Columnists in Ottawa and Toronto, start your engines
Refundable Prediction

Thanks to good two-way play between a couple of responsible teams, each with enough skill to turn defense into offense in a hurry, this will be the best first-round series of the group.

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