Friday, December 29, 2006

The Undercard

On the eve of the fifth installment of the Battle of Ontario both squads will be in action. The senators will be hosting the New York Rangers who defeated them 3-1 earlier in the month and the Leafs will travel to Pittsburgh looking to continue their domination of Sid the Kid's Penguins. Saturday night is the main event as Leaf and sens fans across the country will summon up the vitriol as the two struggling clubs will be looking to pick up two valuable divisional points.

The real story facing both squads is the injury bug that has been slowly picking the teams apart. The sens have Wade Redden trying to return to form (not this year's form) after a layoff, Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher have matching 4-6 week prognoses (what a prescient post) leaving Chris Kelly as the top line centre and that will not help Jay sleep tonight. And don't forget that Ray Emery still seems to be nursing his wrist injury and God knows The Gerber Baby cannot step in to give him some time off.

Meanwhile, the good guys are suffering a worse crisis as Michael Peca is out for 3 months with a broken leg (no accompanying knee injury), The Soviet Bloc of Pony and Antro are week to week with shoulder and ankle injuries, Kyle Wellwood has some mystery hip ailment, and Darcy Tucker has one bruise too many. For those keeping track, that means five of the Leafs pre-season top six forwards are out. This means that for the forseeable future the Leafs will feature more Marlies than Leafs. If history is anything to go by the call-ups will play above their heads only to watch the Leafs stumble as the regulars return. Oh, and Maurice is not happy with the goaltending.

Tonight's predictions:

Rangers 5 v. sens 3
Leafs 5 v. Pens 4

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