The final leg of the once feared 3 game swing through California ends in Anaheim tonight. Having gone 2-0 so far, win or lose, we should be able to call it a successful trip. Through their first 2 games the Leafs have outscored their opponents 10-4, a dominant effort made all the more impressive considering they are still missing both Auston Matthews and unsigned RFA William Nylander.
The last time they played a back to back, coach Mike Babcock decided to sit Igor Ozhiganov on night two, we’ll see if that trend continues. 82 games is a long season for the rookie NHLer, so sitting him may not be a bad idea. My hope would be to see more of Justin Holl over Martin Marincin if “Ozzy” does sit though, as Marincin has not looked good as of late.
Garret Sparks is your projected starter for the Leafs, while we should expect to see John Gibson backstopping the Ducks. Gibson has had a terrific year to date, if not for him the Ducks could be much lower in the standings. Sparks has had a much less desired start to his year. While he has gone 2-1, his 4.00GAA and 0.879SV% doesn’t instill much confidence in fans. Mike Babcock has spoken about his need to adjust to the NHL and how it takes time, let’s hope he can relax and just play his game to make the transition to the NHL a little more smooth than we’ve seen to date.
Coach spoke last week about the acclimation process of transitioning from the AHL to the NHL. Garret is in that stage right now and i think very capable of adjusting to NHL shooters. Another big step tonight and rest assured he’ll have a motivated club playing for him. #tmltalk https://t.co/QGFev1KJdU
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) November 16, 2018
Some quick numbers:
Leafs: 68 (1st in NHL)
Ducks: 42 (30th in NHL)
Leafs: 50 (tied for 6th fewest in NHL)
Ducks: 57 (20th in NHL)
Leafs: 26.8% (7th in NHL)
Ducks: 14.3% (27th in NHL)
Leafs: 81.8% (10th in NHL)
Ducks: 82.4% (7th in NHL)
Prediction: 5-4 Leafs. Sparks with a questionable goal or two, but the Leafs outscore their opponents anyway.