RED WINGS (6-5-1) at MAPLE LEAFS (2-8-2)
7:00pm – ACC (TSN4)
The Detroit Red Wings roll into town to face their old coach, in his new barn.
In their first meeting of the season, which was Mike Babcock’s highly anticipated return to Detroit, the Leafs were shutout in a 4-0 loss.
Fast forward a month and the Detroit team is playing above .500, while the Leafs recently managed to gather just their second win of the season. But to me, winning or losing shouldn’t be a concern at this point. I’m not saying let’s rally for another “tank”, but setting realistic expectations in the first year of a rebuild is important.
In my previous Game Day Thread, I stated the Leafs were actually playing good – and as I read in the comments, many of you disagreed, so let me clarify. Playing good isn’t about wins or losses, like I said above. I am looking for structural improvements, individual improvements, player development, short-term contract players gaining value, etc. Those are the expectations we need to focus on, not winning and certainly not making the playoffs.
One specific player that will make this rebuild a lot less painful is Morgan Rielly. He currently leads the team in points, and is playing the best hockey of his short career. Alongside Matt Hunwick, who I admittedly was sceptable about being nothing more than a 6/7 defenseman, have become the top defensive pair for the Leafs. A job that was previously owned by Dion Phaneuf, our captain has adapted to a lesser role with Jake Gardiner, and so far it has been a positive change for everyone involved.
James Reimer is expected to start for the third straight time since Bernier has been placed on the IR (lower body injury). Reimer will look to continue a solid run in goal which has resulted in a .948 save percentage over the past two outings. He faces a Red Wings team filled with injuries, but injected with youth.
Pavel Datsyuk remains out of the lineup, but is nearing a return. Mike Green is questionable due to a shoulder injury. Kyle Quincy will also be out.
On the Leafs side, they will get Scott Harrington back in the lineup as he returns from injury. Frank Corrado has returned from his conditioning stint with the Marlies, but is still not expected to make his Leafs debut. Rich Clune has been placed on waivers to make room for Harrington.
The Buds will need to shut down one of the best rookies in the NHL, produce some offense of our own and most importantly suppress the amount of shots on goal which has been an issue as of late if we want to give Babcock a victory over his former team.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Gdiff (5v5) — -3
Gdiff (All) — -12
CF% (5v5) – 51.3
PP% – 14.3
PK% – 76.2
Detroit Red Wings
Gdiff (5v5) — +1
Gdiff (All) — -1
CF% (5v5) – 46.1
PP% – 19.0
PK% – 81.8
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Bozak – Komarov
Matthias – Kadri – Lupul
Winnik – Spaling – Parenteau
Grabner – Froese – Boyes
Gardiner – Phaneuf
Hunwick – Rielly
Harrington – Polak
Detroit Red Wings
Abdelkader – Zetterberg – Larkin
Tatar – Sheahan – Nyquist
Andersson – Helm – Pulkkinen
Miller – Glendening – Ferraro
Kronwall – Smith
DeKeyser – Ericsson
Kindell – Marchenko
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1922 – Former Leafs winger Joe Klukay was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Klukay won four Stanley Cups with the Leafs between 1943-1951.
- 1967 – Punch Imlach’s Leafs extend their undefeated streak to six games as they battle to a 3-3 draw against the Rangers.
- 1993 – Wendel Clark scores two goals to lead the Leafs to a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Toronto.
- 2005 – Leafs trade Nathan Perrot to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 6th round draft pick in 2006. The Leafs would use this pick to select Leo Komarov!
- 2001 – Mikael Renberg and Jonas Hoglund had a goal and an assist each in a 4-2 win over the Capitals. Curtis Joseph stopped 36 of 38 shots.
- 2014 – Leafs fall 4-3 in the shootout to the Colorado Avalanche. Richard Panik scored the game tying goal with just over a minute left in regulation. Sadly, the club couldn’t pull off the comeback.