LGD – We’re Gonna Need A Higher Scoring Boat

LeafsVSharks

Peter Horachek probably isn’t all that thrilled with the beginning of the Peter Horachek era in Toronto. In two games under the new bench boss, the Leafs have dropped both and gone scoreless. Sure, it’s two tough games on the road against two of the best teams in hockey, and sure, the Leafs have suddenly started playing pretty decent defence (relatively speaking), but 0-2-0 just isn’t a pretty record.

The piling injuries aren’t helping either. Joffrey Lupul, Peter Holland, Leo Komarov, and now David Booth are on the mend and won’t be lining up tonight. Matt Frattin, the AHL Marlies’ leading scorer, has been recalled.

This patchwork lineup will have to find their scoring touch pretty quickly if they hope to hang with the Sharks tonight in San Jose.

The Leafs

I get that the Leafs are playing better hockey, technically speaking. I get that they’re not scoring, but also allowing the fewest shots/chances against they have all season. I get that they’re accomplishing this by putting at least one defensively-minded player on each forward line. I just don’t know if it should keep happening.

It’s not as simple as I’m about to make it sound, but I’d be trying to generate some offence tonight by loading up my top six with my most skilled players, and letting the systems handle the defence. I’d put Nazem Kadri between James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel on the top line. I’d put Tyler Bozak with Mike Santorelli and Richard Panik on the second line, and fill out the bottom six with what’s left. 

If these offensive-minded lines play in a defensive strategy, maybe you start seeing the best of both worlds.

Of course, it’s just not that easy when you’re missing several key forwards. Any more injuries and heck, William “Hockey’s Best Prospect” Nylander might be making his NHL debut much sooner than expected.

Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

LeafsLineup

The Sharks

Who the hell is Melker Karlsson? Don’t trip. He’s off to a pretty hot start to his NHL career. The Swedish forward arrived in North America this season and already has 10 points in 15 career NHL games, earning himself a spot riding shotgun with Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski.

The Sharks’ top six is pretty damn good, because somehow Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are second liners. And Tomas Hertl is a fourth liner? Haha, wow. Ok.

Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

SharksLineup

Starting Goaltenders

Antti Niemi has been confirmed for the Sharks, while the Leafs haven’t named their starter yet. All things considered, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t James Reimer, who hasn’t started a game since January 3rd. I’m calling it. 

What to Watch For

  • A rebuild?
  • A goal. For the love of God, a goal. For Toronto, preferably. With a Peter Horachek arms-flailing celebration.
  • Another injury to a Leafs forward.
  • jasken

    You really need to get off that removing of Bozak and replacing with Kadri. Seriously 3 coaches now and you even got your analytical department in there and it hasn’t changed for a reason. As for the way things are until guys get used to it and being repetitive as part of their game this will continue.

    It takes leadership and guidance in the new system you got a few players who are dedicated and others are already questioning the coaches on it. No production, it dont have the same feel as before, they believe their time in offensive zone is greatly reduced, and they are showing and acting like they have no desire to do it. How long will it last which player is going to be the first to step out of line and return to their old ways.