MAPLE LEAFS (16-18-7)
7:00pm (TSN 4)
The Maple Leafs face tough competition when Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks roll into the Air Canada Centre on a nine-game winning streak. Seriously, how do Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville keep this up? The Maple Leafs can only hope to emulate their style down the road, but that’s a whole other discussion.
There is some good news for the Maple Leafs. The Blackhawks played last night against the Montreal Canadiens and the fatigue factor mixed in with playing on the road could give Toronto the upper hand, at least in the early going. I expect Mike Babcock’s plan will be to push the pace right from the start whereas Quenneville will want his team to weather the storm until they can find there legs.
No changes in goal for the Maple Leafs as James Reimer gets the nod for his second consecutive start. Despite missing 12 games due to injury, Reimer has not won a game since Nov. 20 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Five consecutive losses does not bode well for the NHL’s leader in save percentage, but with a win tonight he’ll look to get back on track as Bernier seems to have lost his confidence once again. For the Blackhawks, Scott Darling will likely get the nod in relief of Corey Crawford who led the team to a 2-1 win over the Canadiens last night. Also, the Maple Leafs called up Rich Clune from the Marlies yesterday, but it is unclear if he will get into the lineup or not.
The Blackhawks have won eight of the last 10 games against the Maple Leafs, including a 4-0 victory in their last meeting.
Puck drops at 7:00 PM.
Michael Grabner – Nazem Kadri – Leo Komarov
Shawn Matthias – Tyler Bozak – PA Parenteau
Daniel Winnik – Peter Holland – Joffrey Lupul
Josh Leivo – Byron Froese – Brad Boyes
Jake Gardiner – Dion Phaneuf
Martin Marincin – Morgan Rielly
Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak
Andrew Shaw – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Artemi Panarin – Artem Anisimov – Patrick Kane
Andrew Desjardins – Phillip Danault – Teuvo Teravainen
Richard Panik – Dennis Rasmussen – Ryan Garbutt
Duncan Keith – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival – Brent Seabrook
Trevor van Riemsdyk – Rob Scuderi
Gdiff (5v5) — -7
Gdiff (All) — -10
CF% (5v5) – 50.2
PP% – 18.0
PK% – 80.5
Gdiff (5v5) — 1
Gdiff (All) — 23
CF% (5v5) – 51.8
PP% – 22.1
PK% – 81.7