LGD – Stop, Drop, and Roll

The Leafs have points in two straight games, losing to the New York Islanders in overtime Monday and beating the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout two days ago.  Maybe you think that’s a good thing, maybe you think that’s a bad thing.  In any event, you’ll get to continue cheering or not cheering for Toronto as they begin their annual western Canadian road swing.  It all starts tonight as the Leafs take on the Calgary Flames at 8:00PM Eastern on TSN4.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about this match-up.  The Leafs have almost assuredly locked up a draft pick between 4th and 6th overall.  This game is a lot more important for the Flames who are in the middle of a dog fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

THE LEAFS

Expected lines via DailyFaceoff.com:

leafslines

It’ll be most interesting to see what happens on defense.  Andrew MacWilliam is coming off his first NHL game Wednesday in which he notched an assist.  Long-time Marlie standout T.J. Brennan was recalled yesterday.  Don’t be surprised if both of them play, as Tim Erixon and Eric Brewer haven’t played well since joining the Leafs.

THE FLAMES

Expected lines via DailyFaceoff.com:

flames

Not the flashiest of lineups, but this is the look of a team fighting for their playoff lives.  Johnny Gaudreau recently became the first Calgary rookie to hit 50 points since Jarome Iginila.  Sophomore Sean Monahan has yet again hit the 20-goal plateau.  On defense, Dennis Wideman is carrying a continually heavy load trying to make up for the loss of Flames captain Mark Giordano, whose out for the season with injury.

STARTING GOALTENDERS

James Reimer (27GP, .905 sv%) will start for Toronto tonight.

At the other end, Jonas Hiller (43GP, .915 sv%) is expected to draw in for Calgary.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Our good friends at Flames Nation just put up an interesting piece comparing this year’s Flames to last year’s Colorado Avalanche. Both teams are notably poor in the possession game, but this piece leaves reason to be optimistic about Calgary’s future.