LGD – Leafs vs. Canucks; The Struggle Will Be Real

The Leafs weren’t very good against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, so they’ll need to be much, much better if they hope to bounce back against the Vancouver Canucks tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

The Canucks, a little surprisingly, are one of the best teams in the league. They sit 4th in the standings with an 18-7-1 record. 

They’ve got a decent powerplay (20.7%, 12th in NHL) and a good penalty kill (84.9%, 7th in the NHL), but Vancouver’s special teams numbers aren’t all that different from the Leafs’.

It’s not like the the Canucks score at an insanely high rate (while the Leafs do), or have wildly low goals-against numbers (ok, the Leafs don’t have that).

I guess the big difference between the Leafs’ and the Canucks’ records is that the Leafs haven’t got to beat up on the Edmonton Oilers four times this season? Hmm.

Interviewing the Enemy

To give you a more in-depth preview of tonight’s game, I talked to handsome friend of the blog and Canucks Army guy Thomas Drance and asked him the hard hitting questions that need answering.

Drance

The Leafs

Projected Lines via DailyFaceoff.com

van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Kessel

Lupul – Kadri – Santorelli

Winnik – Holland – Clarkson

Booth – Smith – Panik

Phaneuf – Franson

Gardiner – Holzer

Rielly – Robidas

It looks like Leo Komarov is going to miss his third game in a row because Alexander Ovechkin is a jerk. It’s too bad, because Uncle Leo has been one of the Leafs’ best secondary scoring options so far this season. 

There is a chance that Brandon Kozun, who has returned to the team after missing a good deal of time with a high ankle sprain, could draw back into the lineup tonight. As it stands now, he’s still the odd man out, but he could be activated before puck drop if the Leafs feel like injecting a little extra speed into their lineup.

The Canucks

Projected Lines via DailyFaceoff.com

Sedin – Sedin – Vrbata

Higgins – Bonino – Burrows

Matthias – Richardson – Vey

Dorsett – Horvat – Hansen

Edler – Tanev

Sbisa – Bieksa

Stanton – Weber

The Canucks will be without the services of Dan Hamhuis (which hurts), Zack Kassian (which kind of hurts I guess), and Tom Sestito (uhhhhh). 

Still, they’ve got a strong lineup headlined by that Sedin-Sedin-Vrbata line. That line has combined for 68 points already this season, which is impressive. Not as strong as that van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Kessel line though, who’ve combined for 72 points so far. *Noses Up*

Starting Goaltenders

Hehehe.

  • CMpuck

    Is the constant Oil bashing maybe be that no one will laugh at this franchise’s rebuild after they land McEchiel?

    Nah, no looks that far ahead, the Leafs are sorta better than the Oilers right now! Woooooooooo

  • CMpuck

    Please!!! I want to see Bernier kick Millers ass again. That was just so funny. “And bernier is going after miller!” That made me laugh so much.

    I think Kozun is going to be playing tonight. Not
    Panik