Maple Leafs eye 3-0 start against Senators

10:29 AM, Oct 5, 2013   |    comments
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( - The Toronto Maple Leafs try to push their season-opening win streak to three straight games on Saturday night as they play their home opener against the Ottawa Senators.

The Maple Leafs, coming off their first postseason appearance since 2004, have begun the campaign with road victories over Montreal and Philadelphia. They were last in action on Wednesday, when they recorded a 3-1 win over the Flyers.

Dave Bolland scored twice for the Maple Leafs, his first goals since notching the Cup-clincher for the Chicago Blackhawks last season. He was traded to Toronto in a draft-day deal.

Phi Kessel also scored and Jonathan Bernier made 31 saves in his Toronto debut. The Maple Leafs acquired Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings in late June for a pair of players and a draft pick.

"He gave us a chance and that's all you can ask," Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said of Bernier. "We needed a goaltender to keep us in the game and he did that and we're fortunate to have him."

James Reimer had made 34 saves in the season-opening win over the Canadiens and it is unknown which goaltender will get the start tonight.

Saturday could mark the NHL debut of 19-year-old defenseman Morgan Rielly, the fifth overall pick of the 2012 draft. Rielly could be tapped to replace defenseman Mark Fraser, who was placed on long-term injured reserve Friday after suffering a knee injury versus the Flyers.

"He plays the game with his head and his legs and his hands," Carlyle said on Friday of his young defenseman. "He's got all three assets that separates him from other people in his age group. He's a strong puck mover. He can get the puck through from the point on the power play. He's got great wheels to get up and down the ice. He's smart in his reads."

The Maple Leafs, who last won three straight to start the season in 2011-12, will play two straight and five of their next six at home. They won both of their home meetings with the Senators a season ago and have taken six of seven and eight of the past 12 encounters overall.

Ottawa opened up its season on Friday night with a 1-0 victory over Buffalo, the first stop on a six-game road trip to begin the campaign. The Senators fired 46 shots on net, including 23 in the first period, but didn't solve the Sabres' Ryan Miller until Erik Karlsson's wrister with 1:35 to play.

"A win on the road is a good thing. I thought both goaltenders were obviously outstanding," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. "I thought there was a lot of loose play, especially by our team. But at the end of the day, we end up winning the game and that's the most important thing.

"We have the first game under our belt. Hopefully we'll get some kinks out and we get to get right back on the horse (Saturday night) and we're looking forward to that."

Craig Anderson, who was sidelined for a good part of last season due to an ankle injury, made 35 saves to record his 23rd career shutout.

"It was one of those nights where we got a few lucky bounces and some big blocked shots. Overall, I think it was one of those games where you need a little bit of luck on your side and I think we got that," said Anderson.

The Senators will head out west after this contest to continue their road trip in Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim and Phoenix before their home opener on Oct. 17 versus New Jersey.

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