The Leafs are back in action tonight after a 3 day Christmas break. They head to Jersey to face the Devils, who went into the break on a high as they beat the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 7-1.
That still leaves them in 30th place in the league, hence why Leafs head coach, Sheldon Keefe, will go back to Michael Hutchinson again tonight, as he tries to build the backups confidence by playing him against teams at the bottom of the standings.
Michael Hutchinson will start for #Leafs tonight vs. Blackwood for the Devils
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) December 27, 2019
As for the Leafs, they also entered the break on a high note, as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 8-6. It wasn’t a pretty win, but 2 points are in the bank nonetheless.
That win brings the Buds to 5 in a row, and they’re now winners of 7 of their last 8.
If they can lock down a win tonight it will mean winning 6 in a row for the first time since a 6 game winning streak from November 6th to November 18th, 2017.
This recent streak also brings Sheldon Keefes record to 11-4 since he took over from Mike Babcock, and that record has put them right back into the thick of things as far as the playoff race goes. They’ll have to keep their foot on the pedal if they want to ensure a spot in the show come April, but things are looking better in the early going.
It would seem that Trevor Moore won’t be back in the lineup for a while, as he is out indefinitely with a concussion.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) December 27, 2019
Lastly, there will be a bit of a shakeup to the lines, as William Nylander and John Tavares will be skating with Ilya Mikheyev, while Keefe keeps the trio of Hyman, Matthews and Marner together. This could be a good look for the top 6, and people are starting to wonder what might become of Andreas Johnsson once he returns to the lineup from injury.
Mikheyev Tavares Nylander
Hyman Matthews Marner
Engvall Kerfoot Kapanen
Timashov Gauthier Spezza
New Jersey Devils
PP%: 13% (30th in NHL)
PK%: 80.6% (16th in NHL)
GF/GP: 2.50 (30th in NHL)
GA/GP: 3.44 (29th in NHL)
S/GP: 30.8 (T-18th in NHL)
SA/GP: 31.2 (T-10th in NHL)
PP%: 22.3% (9th in NHL)
PK%: 76.1% (26th in NHL)
GF/GP: 3.47 (T-4th in NHL)
GA/GP: 3.16 (21st in NHL)
S/GP: 33.4 (T-5th in NHL)
SA/GP: 32.5 (T-24th in NHL)