MAPLE LEAFS (10-9-4) at CANUCKS (10-12-2)
7:00 pm (HNIC)
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing their third game in five nights when they take to the ice at Rogers Arena against the Vancouver Canucks.
Tonight marks the completion of their annual Canadian western road swing. It is also the rematch between the two clubs since the Nazem Kadri hit on Daniel Sedin back on Nov 5th.
The melee afterwards and remarks by Vancouver’s Erik Gudbranson points to tonight being a rough affair.
There have been reports that Marner and Nylander are both targets of retribution. As is always the case, the NHL has warned both clubs about any bad boy behaviour. This is usually enough the stifle any plans players may have been making.
Vancouver is a team becoming long in the tooth. Four of the Canucks top 5 players are well into their 30’s. While Trevor Linden and company do their best to retool the lineup on the fly, the result has been a 28th overall place in the standings.
Goals for, goals against and their power play rank near the bottom of the league. One curiosity is Vancouver has the 4th best penalty kill league wide.
The Maple Leafs are young, speedy and have proven to be able to put the puck in the net.
Look for a bounce back game for the Leafs after their 3-0 loss Wednesday night to the Calgary Flames.
After a day off Thursday, the team got back to work on Friday in preparation for tonight’s contest.
Nazem Kadri will need to play with his head on a swivel. Kadri was kicked out of the Nov 05 game but replays showed that the hit did not warrant a suspension according to the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Erik Gudbranson was quoted to the effect of “killing Matt Martin” which he wisely retracted after having a chance to cool off.
Perhaps we can expect a chippy affair tonight but not any anticipated fireworks.
Both teams are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and both are coming off a loss.
The key for Vancouver tonight will be to slow down the likes of Marner, Nylander, Matthews. While Toronto has to get back to that speed game that produces so many offensive chances.
Peter Holland is not on this trip and it appears his tenure as a Leaf is over while Corrado continues to be a healthy scratch having appeared in a single game for the Leafs this season.
Is this a sign of things to come leading up to the February trade deadline?
Discuss amongst yourselves.
Projected Line Combinations
Toronto Maple Leafs
Komarov– Kadri — Soshnikov
Hyman — Matthews — Brown
van Riemsdyk– Bozak — Marner
Martin — Nylander — Smith
Reilly — Zaitsev
Gardiner — Carrick
Hunwick — Polak
D. Sedin –H. Sedin — Sutter
Granlund — Chaput — Eriksson
Baertschi — Horvat — Burrows
Skille — Gaunce — Megna
Sbisa — Stecher
Hutton — Gudbranson
Tryamkin — Larsen
Mike Babcock — Leafs Practice — 12/02/2016