I don’t know if there is an image that captures the Leafs struggles in the latter third of last season than this perfect exhibition of brilliance by Luke Schenn. At that time, the Leafs had already lost four straight games, three of them coming at home. They had won just one of their last nine games and had slipped to three points back of a playoff spot.
Toronto’s not there right now, but they’re teetering, having won just two out of nine. They are getting lucky in the sense that four of their seven losses have come in the shootout so they’re still picking up points during the slump, and while I hate the term “must-win”, the Leafs are in the midst of a rough patch of the schedule. The play Florida tonight, don’t have to beat them, but should beat the worst team in the NHL this season, a team with tonnes of injuries and goaltending issues.
Here’s the full play from the Leafs last home game against the Panthers:
It’s legendary, and no play sums up last season or Luke Schenn’s tenure in Toronto just so well. It’s the start of the game for a team lost in a slump, and before Sportsnet can even fill up their score bug with useless bits of information, Toronto is down 1-0.
Puck Drop: 7 PM EDT
TV: Sportsnet Ontario
By the Numbers:
|Corsi Tied||50.8% (14th)||45.6% (25th)|
|5v5 GF/GA Ratio||0.63 (30th)||1.03 (16th)|
|Team Shot %||6.4%||10.5%|
|Team Save %||0.907||0.923|
|PP Success||18.1% (17th)||18.1% (18th)|
|5v4 GF/60||5.78 (17th)||6.00 (14th)|
|5v4 SF/60||48.1 (13th)||47.7 (16th)|
|PK Success||74.3% (30th)||85.4% (5th)|
|4v5 GF/60||8.08 (28th)||5.19 (6th)|
|4v5 SF/60||48.8 (19th)||40.8 (3rd)|
The Panthers are a bit beat up. Here’s the injury report according to Hockey Reference:
|Michael Caruso||01/23/13||broken wrist||is on injured reserve and is out indefinitely|
|Erik Gudbranson||03/26/13||flu-like symptoms||is questionable for Tuesday’s game against Toronto|
|Ed Jovanovski||03/17/13||lower body||is on injured reserve|
|George Parros||03/17/13||upper body||is on injured reserve|
|Eric Selleck||03/26/13||concussion||is doubtful for Tuesday’s game against Toronto|
|Jack Skille||03/26/13||upper body||is doubtful for Tuesday’s game against Toronto|
|Jose Theodore||03/03/13||torn right groin||is on injured reserve and is expected to miss 5-6 weeks|
|Kris Versteeg||03/13/13||to undergo right knee surgery||is on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the season|
|Mike Weaver||03/01/13||lower body||is on injured reserve and is expected to miss 4-5 weeks|
|Stephen Weiss||03/04/13||to undergo wrist surgery||is on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the season|
As a result, here was their lineup last time out:
Tomas Fleischmann – Marcel Goc – Tomas Kopecky
Peter Mueller – Jonathan Huberdeau – Drew Shore
Scottie Upshall – Mike Santorelli – Shawn Matthias
Greg Rallo – Jerred Smithson – Quinton Howden
Dmitry Kulikov – Filip Kuba
Tyson Strachan – Brian Campbell
TJ Brennan – Colby Robak
If you check the usage chart, you’ll see that the only plus guys on the team are that second line of Mueller, Huberdeau and Shore. They’ll need to be shut down but beyond that, the Panthers have very little going for them so I’d expect Nazem Kadri to be run out against Marcel Goc and Tyler Bozak possibly against Mike Santorelli.
Carlyle may try something different, or try and get Kadri out against Huberdeau a bunch, but I think that the Leafs young star can thrash about any other line the Panthers send out, so it may be a better use or resources to do it that way. The first line and first defence pairings on the Leafs need to have better games.
Markstrom in net for the Panthers, while Paul Hendrick expects Ben Scrivens to get the nod for Toronto. Not sure about other lineup changes but I really hope that Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren don’t get in over Matt Frattin again.
Lines via Left Wing Lock