SABRES (17-17-9) at MAPLE LEAFS (20-13-8)
7:30 pm (SN)
Coming off of an impressive 4-2 win versus the rival Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to beat up on another divisional foe as the Sabres visit the ACC this evening.
Curtis McElhinney stopped 35 shots in his first start as a Maple Leafs goalie, and now it is up to Number 1 netminder, Frederik Andersen to keep this team on a roll.
With the next four games all played the ACC, the ‘Road Warriors’ Maple Leafs must establish a certain level of dominance at home, in order to solidify any dreams of Playoffs action this year.
While the team certainly has games in hand over other teams fighting for the promised land in the Spring (finally not prime tee times), it should also be noticed that even with our 8-1-1 play in the last 10 games we are not free and clear of the rest of the Division.
This is another one of those games where you want to make a statement, fend off (in my opinion) an inferior team, take the two points and move on.
Love the fact that the MSM is so desperate to create a Jack Eichel vs. Auston Matthews scenario but quite frankly, I do not think Matthews cares who he is playing against. He wants to be the best and he wants to win. Simple as that. The rest of the media created rivalries can take a flying leap off the Skyway.
Coach Mike Babcock is doing his best to temper expectations and a sense of entitlement amongst the fan base AND the players in his dressing room.
“We should be proud of what we’ve been able to do in the past 10 games but we’re only halfway through. We have a lot of hockey left to play. We have to be aware the push starts now, teams come back from their breaks and they’re ready to play.”
The Sabres are 5 points back of the Maple Leafs in the standings, and are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games but will be looking to make a statement of their own as they make the drive up the QEW for what seems like the millionth time tonite.
Three Points to Success:
- Start Fast: Leafs lead the NHL in first period goals scored
- Goaltending. Seems repetitive but confidence starts in the crease for this team.
- Depth. Each line must produce offensive time zone and create scoring opportunities.
Unsure what the record is on Tuesday evenings, but the Leafs always seem to be sluggish and the crowd apathetic on this particular day of the week. Lets hope the Leafs can provide Murph (and all of us) with a little excitement to get us thru to the weekend.
Go Leafs Go.
Projected Line Combinations
Toronto Maple Leafs
Komarov — Kadri — Nylander
Hyman — Matthews — Brown
van Riemsdyk — Bozak — Marner
Martin — Gauthier — Soshnikov
Rielly — Zaitsev
Gardiner — Carrick
Hunwick — Polak
Ennis — R. O’Reilly — Okposo
Foligno — Eichel — Reinhart
Kane — Girgensons — Gionta
Moulson — C. O’Reilly — Carrier
McCabe — Ristolainen
Bogosian — Franson
Falk — Fedun
Mike Babcock — Practice — 01/16/2017