Ottawa Senators

Leafs’ Horachek: ‘I scratch my head when I talk about that first period’

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Mike Hoffman, Erik Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad scored first period goals for Ottawa, who out-shot the Toronto Maple Leafs 12-9 in the opening frame

Karlsson added his second of the night in the third period, the eventual game-winner, as the Senators handed the Leafs their sixth straight regulation loss.

The Leafs have scored just five goals in the six games.

“I scratch my head when I talk about that first period. That was totally done by ourselves, to ourselves, to a team that played last night,” said Leafs interim head coach, Peter Horachek. “It’s a strange situation. We’ve got to correct that for sure.”

Craig Anderson made 37 saves improving to 13-11-7 on the season.

David Clarkson snapped a 14-game drought scoring his first goal since Dec. 20 in the loss.

Nazem Kadri, who has reportedly begun contract talks with the Leafs, netted his 13th of the season while James van Riemsdyk had the other goal for Toronto.

James Reimer saw his record drop to 6-9-0 with a 22 save performance.

“We didn’t have a good start,” said Reimer. “Obviously you can’t get down 3-0 and expect to win in this league.”

There’s interest in Chris Neil, says Sens GM

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Could veteran forward Chris Neil be on his way out of Ottawa? According to Senators GM Bryan Murray, there’s interest out there in acquiring the 35-year-old.

At the same time, Murray isn’t sure that trading Neil is something he wants to do, even though the Sens are unlikely to make the playoffs.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Murray has received an inquiry about Neil, the tough guy winger. Before he would move Neil, Murray says he has to be sure there is enough toughness in the organization, as his AHL Binghamton club is not particularly rugged, either.

“We don’t have a lot of grit, of that caliber, in our organization,” Murray says. “And no matter what you say, you need it.”

Neil has just four goals and three assists in 29 games this season, and he’s only averaging 10:12 of ice time. But for a playoff team in search of a gritty fourth-liner with postseason experience, he could be an option.

Neil is signed through next season for a cap hit of $1.9 million.

According to the Citizen, the Sens may also explore trading d-men Chris Phillips and Marc Methot, veteran forward David Legwand, and/or “one or two others” prior to the March 2 deadline.

Related: Welcome Craig Anderson to the trade rumor mill

Goalie nods: Red-hot Ortio gets fifth straight start for Flames

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Joni rides again

Talk about a luxury of wealth in goal.

Tonight in Anaheim, Calgary will give Joni Ortio — the 23-year-old Finn that’s spent the majority of the year in AHL Adirondack — his fifth consecutive start as he looks for his fifth consecutive win.

Ortio, called up after Karri Ramo landed on IR, has been nothing short of brilliant during his brief stint in Calgary, moving ahead of Jonas Hiller on the depth chart by posting a .958 save percentage and 1.23 GAA in victories over Vancouver, Arizona, San Jose and Los Angeles. All four wins came on the road and Ortio started his run with a 36-save shutout against the Canucks… in his season debut.

More:

The Calgary Flames just keep winning and winning, Part 2

Awkward or not, Flames will carry three goalies as Ortio shows ‘swagger’

For the Ducks, Frederik Andersen will get the nod in goal.

Elsewhere…

Leafs at Sens: Craig Anderson for Ottawa, no word yet on a Toronto starter.

‘Hawks at Pens: Marc-Andre Fleury for Pittsburgh, Corey Crawford likely for Chicago.

Jackets at Jets: Michael Hutchinson for Winnipeg, no word yet on a Columbus starter.

Bruins at Avs: Semyon Varlamov for Colorado, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.

Kings at Sharks: Antti Niemi likely for San Jose, no word yet on a L.A. starter.

Goalie nods: Price returns from injury to face Preds

All the latest from the blue paint…

Carey’s back for Habs

After missing Saturday’s win over the Islanders with an upper-body injury, Carey Price will return to the Montreal net tonight when the Habs host the Preds at the Bell Centre.

Price, who’s having a Vezina- and Hart Trophy-caliber season, is 23-10-2 on the year with a .927 save percentage and 2.19 GAA. He’s headed to his fourth All-Star Game in Columbus on the weekend and is easily the biggest reason why Montreal comes into tonight’s game sitting third in the Atlantic Division, just three points back of Tampa Bay for top spot.

For the Preds, Carter Hutton will be in goal.

Elsewhere…

Sens at Rangers: Craig Anderson vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Oilers at Caps: Viktor Fasth vs. Braden Holtby

Pens at Flyers: Thomas Greiss vs. Ray Emery

Wild at Wings: Devan Dubnyk vs. Petr Mrazek

Canucks at Bolts: Ben Bishop for Tampa Bay, Ryan Miller likely for Vancouver.

Coyotes at Blackhawks: Mike Smith vs. Antti Raanta

Bruins at Stars: Tuukka Rask likely for Boston, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Sens looking to move Colin Greening

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America
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Colin Greening is expected to be a healthy scratch for a fifth straight game tonight when the Ottawa Senators visit the New York Rangers.

Greening has not played since a 5-2 Ottawa loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 8 and has been a healthy scratch 21 times this season entering tonight’s game.

With Chris Neil returning after missing 16 games with a knee injury, Sens’ GM Bryan Murray doesn’t see Greening getting into the lineup anytime soon.

As a result, Murray is working the phones looking for a new home for Greening.

“I just basically told him that I had talked with a number of GMs. I tried to encourage them to give him an opportunity through a trade or whatever vehicle it may be. At this point, there’s nothing for him,” Murray told TSN 1200 in Ottawa on Monday. “I just told him eventually here, if we don’t get something done, he’s got to play hockey. You can’t play hockey as the 23rd, 24th guy on the roster here so I may have to put him on waivers here at some point in time.”

Greening has one goal and minus-3 rating to go along with 27 penalty minutes in 20 games this season.

The 28-year-old is in the second year of a three-year $7.95 million deal and will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015-16 season.

Greening has not played in the American Hockey League since appearing in 59 games with the Binghamton Senators during the 2010-11 season.

“He happens to be the guy not in the lineup and is not going to be, it looks like, in the next few games at least,” said Murray. “He’s a young guy with a chance to play can contribute to a team in the National Hockey League. He’s a big guy, he skates pretty well. He just doesn’t fit right now with our group at this moment anyway. Two injuries from now, he could be the most important guy going.”

Murray cited the play of Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who has a goal and two assists in 14 games this season, and the emergence of rookie Curtis Lazar as reasons Greening has struggled to find playing time this season.

Murray has spoken to Greening’s agent about finding a trade for the forward, but if a deal can’t be found, Greening is expected to be placed on waivers following the all star break.