It’s been just a few weeks since the Leafs got their first exposure to Jim Nill and his all-star team, but tonight the two will face off again in Dallas before the NHL goes on a small break for the holidays.
The Stars were in the basement of the league when they visited Toronto earlier this month (a 5-3 win for the Buds) but are trying to climb their way out of the lottery conversation as they’ve ripped off four straight wins. At eight points out in the west, I’m still not liking their chances, but counting out Jim Nill is never a smart move. Hockey Man, am I right? He’s got numbers too, lots of ’em.
The Leafs have been through a tough week after dropping three straight in regulation, and are just three points ahead of the Panthers who are legitimate playoff contenders. Florida also holds three games in hand, so the Leafs have the potential to slip out of the wildcard spot quite quickly if they don’t get it together on this road stretch.
Leafs lines via Daily Faceoff
Winnik – Kadri – Santorelli
Lupul – Holland – Clarkson
van Riemsdyk – So Young – Kessel
Booth – Smith – Panik
Phaneuf – Franson
Gardiner – Polak
Rielly – Holzer
Carlyle broke up the JVR-Bozak-Kessel line (I refuse to call them the first line anymore) for twenty minutes on Sunday, but then panicked when the team got down early and I doubt we’ll ever see them apart again, which is sort of unfortunate since they’re really bumming everyone out these days.
Kadri saw his minutes cut in that same Hawks game, which didn’t really make any sense, so it’d be nice to see him get his ice-time back in this one. As the Leafs’ best forward over the last little while, he deserves it.
Jim Nill’s Dynasty
Jim Nill lines via Daily Faceoff
Benn – Spezza – Seguin
Roussel – Eakin – Garbutt
Cole – Morin – Hemsky
Horcoff – Fiddler – Sceviour
Goligoski – Klingberg
Jokipakka – Daley
Other Benn – Demers
What you won’t see on the lineup sheet is the presence of Jim Nill, but you’d be a fool to dismiss it.