LGD- Ghoulumbus Boo Jackets

After succesfully conquering perhaps the scariest collection of NHL players to ever take the ice on Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs face a new challenge this Halloween.

Today, the Leafs are looking to exorcise a demon from last year’s season. In three games in 2013-14, the Blue Jackets beat the Leafs 5-2, 6-0, and 2-1. 

However, it looks like this game’s basically decided already. The Leafs come in hot on a very strong one game winning streak, while Columbus comes in with three consecutive three-goal losses to Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Ottawa, respectively.

In all seriousness, Columbus has been hurting heavily due to a slew of injuries, currently having ten players out of their lineup, most notably starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky out 1-2 weeks with a broken finger. A playoff team last season, the Jackets currently sit ahead of just Carolina in a very competitive Metropolitan Division at 4-5-0. 

The Leafs, on the other hand, aren’t doing a whole lot better. At 4-4-1, Toronto is tied for sixth in the Atlantic Divsion.

The first nine games of a season might give you a picture of a hockey team, but it really doesn’t tell you a whole lot. For the fancy stat folk, Columbus comes with a 49.3 Corsi % at 5 on 5 and a PDO of .977, while the, while Toronto comes in with a 48.5% Corsi and a PDO of .999. Columbus has scored seven power play goals and given up five shorthanded, while Toronto’s netted six on the man advantage and given up four while down a man. (via puckalytics.com).

By any measure, these appear to be two relatively even, if not great, hockey teams in the early season.   

The costumes:

With the teams being two of eight playing on Halloween night, the players had to get their fix in a little early this year. If you read Justin’s post from yesterday, you’d see Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf picked Spider-man as his chosen get-up for this year. However, here’s a few of the players from both teams who’ve gotten into the spirit. 

From last year, Morgan Rielly and Carter Ashton went out as a pair of basketball players, wearing retro Larry Bird and Mike Bibby Jerseys. After sitting out all nine games to start the season, perhaps Ashton’s more likely to work his way into the Raptors lineup.

A photo posted by Morgan (@morganrielly) on

Leafs goalie James Reimer and his wife April chose the hottest news anchoring couple out there. Word on the street is April got tired of him wearing a Transformers mask every year.

Not to be outdone, Jonathan Bernier and his wife Martine got quite the makeup job done.

A photo posted by @martineforget on

Over to the Blue Jackets, Scott Hartnell blatantly stole Ashton’s idea. While perhaps lacking in originality, Hartnell’s execution is stellar.

Meanwhile, Cam Atkinson is going as- oh wait, that’s just his face. 

Here’s to better days for your face, Cam.

THE MAPLE LEAFS

Tonight will be curious as to whether the coaching staff will stick to this lineup or shuffle it around. While the top line had a great game against Buffalo, there’s a number of factors that’ll likely contribute as to whether they’ll stay together. 

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff 

Joffrey Lupul – Nazem Kadri – Phil Kessel
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – David Clarkson 
Leo Komarov – Mike Santorelli – Daniel Winnik
Richard Panik – Peter Holland – Matt Frattin

Dion Phaneuf – Cody Franson
Morgan Rielly – Roman Polak
Jake Gardiner – Stephane Robidas

THE BLUE JACKETS

As previously stated, this isn’t exactly the best Blue Jackets lineup of all time. With so many players out, head coach Todd Richards has been forced to work with what’s he’s given. 

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff 

Scott Hartnell – Ryan Johansen – Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno – Alexander Wennberg – Jack Skille 
Marko Dano – Michael Chaput – Corey Tropp 

Sean Collins – Adam Cracknell – Jared Boll

Jack Johnson – Fedor Tyutin
Ryan Murray – David Savard
Tim Erixon – Dalton Prout

STARTING GOALIES

mc

Not exactly a Vezina winner like Sergei Bobrovsky. However, their only other option would be Anton Forsberg, who’s yet to play an NHL game. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure that’s where Jeffler got the idea for his latest haircut.

What to look out for:

-Ryan Johansen comes in with five goals and seven assists in nine games so far, making the most out of his freshly signed 3-year, $12 million contract. A shooting percentage of 25.0% will help contribute to the hot streak, but regardless, he’s looking good right now.

-Scott Hartnell’s posted one goal and nine assists over the same time frame in his first year as a Blue Jacket. He’s also fallen down an average of 3.88 times per game this year, according to his foundation website. 

-Leo Komarov. He’s just fun to watch, as I’m sure you know.

-With Officer Sergei Bobrovsky out, look for him to be in the crowd or the press box wearing last year’s halloween hit, his cop costume.

-Lots of Leafs jerseys in the crowd. While Columbus isn’t the closest road destination, it’s just about a 7-hour drive from Toronto. From personal experience, it’s a great trip if you can make it. Expect the Tim Hortons adjacent to the arena to be full of hosers right up until puck drop.


  • BubbaLou

    I hope the Leafs can manage a better showing than last year’s series against Columbus now that half of Columbus is on the DL. I also know that the Leafs are not very good at taking advantage of plum games like this.

    By the way, that 48.5% Corsi the Leafs are sporting is hugely misleading due to the Buffalo game – after all, what do you expect a stat to do with only 10 games under the belt. Prior to dummying Buffalo, the Leafs placed 4th last in the league for Corsi/Fenwick at about 44%, ahead of just Carolina, Buffalo, and Florida.

    So, we’re still getting out-chanced nightly. Given the current standings, over 82 games at this pace we get 72 points which is good for… 27th place last year.

    Pick it up boys let’s see a good show tonight.

      • TGT23

        Yes and no, I’ll explain.

        Corsi is simply a measure of the ‘pressure’ you/your line/your team can generate in terms of offense. Every hockey game has ebbs and flows of momentum, and generally speaking if you’re generating more flow than ebb, you stand a better chance of winning.

        But a chance is all it is from night to night – it’s not a good predictor of an individual game. There simply isn’t enough hockey played in 60 minutes for the stat to get predictive – it really just describes the ebb and flow of the night, you can’t read into it much more than that. Hey, you could have all the momentum, get burned on some bad miscues and lose. Happens all the time, that’s hockey.

        What’s interesting, and where the stat gets predictive, is how closely related it is to the end of season results. Bad Corsi all year? Not only are you unlikely to make the playoffs, but you are not likely to do much if you somehow get in. You can get outplayed some nights and win, but if that’s the trend all season, you are very likely to lose – especially in the playoffs.

        Look at the Avs this year. Goaltending became realistic – not bad, league average even – but because it’s not lights-out Vezina good anymore, you see how unsustainable it is to get dictated the pace every night. Leafs last year make a good example as well.

    • BubbaLou

      Hey, last time the Leafs played the Blackhawks on HNIC we totaled Chicago in a 7-3 smash-up! Easy game for Reims, right?

      I’m happy to bet otherwise if your wallet’s ready, though 😛

    • TGT23

      It’s cute that you think the goalie with the lowervSave%, higher GAA, and half the games played is the starter. Ignorance is bliss..

      I wonder if Carlyle bucks the trend and starts Bernier against Chicago after he was so good tonight. Get your best goalie in both games, give the team their best chance at another 2pts.