At first glance, Toronto and Ottawa have almost nothing in common going into tonight's games.
The Leafs are first in the NHL and plays a team tonight that is expected to compete for next years lottery pick.
The Sens are tied for last in the NHL and to move up must defeat a team that just 17 months ago won the Stanley Cup.
I do think both teams still very much need a win tonight, even if it is for completely different reasons.
LEAFS VS ISLANDERS
Toronto can't get caught up in the fact the Isles are a pretty bad team and even worse right now thanks to a bunch of injuries. This matchup has all the making of an embarrassing loss, the kind that ruins a really good thing and plants doubt in players minds. The Leafs must walk in with the same mentality they brought in their first 4 games and prove that it really is "just one game at a time". Playoff teams win games they shouldn't and they definitely win the games they should. Toronto haven't had a killer instinct in years. A beat-down on the Isles will be a good stepping stone in proving this team isn't a big fluke.
SENS VS PENGUINS
While we're still only talking less than 10% of the season here, one has to think the Sens are only a handful more losses away from a complete meltdown. Sens fans are some of the most enthusiastic smack talkers I know, so the silence right now says a lot. Losing to a Cup contender in the 6th game of the season isn't the most shameful thing in the world, but I worry that the BoO as a blog will cease to have an Ottawa contingency if something positive doesn't come out of this game and the next. So while I'm not endorsing a division rival here, I wouldn't be that upset if the Sens got a point out of this one. I also worry that a few more losses will convince Murray or Melnyk to make drastic changes and I'm more worried about a Sens team rebuilding than I am about this roster.