LGD: Leafs Host Desert Dogs in Toronto

What the hell happened to the Coyotes? The usual laughing stock of the NHL has a winning record, a handful of exciting young players to watch, and these fancy new jerseys with black accents on the sleeves. They’re almost likeable! 

Whatever the case, the Leafs won’t be facing off against the usual Phoenix push-overs tonight. Let’s break it all down.

The Leafs

Toronto will be without second line center Tyler Bozak, Nick Spaling and Jake Gardiner tonight, who are all dealing with various minor injuries. That means that Peter Holland will draw back in, Harrington will get another look on the blueline, and recent call-up Byron Froese will appear in his second career NHL game.

This isn’t exactly a strong lineup, with Gardiner being one of the team’s top blueliners and Bozak still being better than anything else the Leafs can put a sweater on and push onto the ice. Then again, this isn’t a very good team at full health anyways, so… yeah.

I certainly understand that Kadri and Holland is your one-two punch tonight, no questions asked, but I really hope to see Babcock continue to dish out the minutes relatively evenly for the rest of the lineup. I think that fourth line of Grabner-Froese-Parenteau is more than capable of playing decent minutes, and I’d like to see as much of Froese as possible. He’s an interesting story, for sure.

The Coyotes

I feel like the Coyotes are a very feast-or-famine team this season, with a bunch of useful pieces but not enough to win every game. Instead, you’re going to get one line or the other going off for seven combined points every so often and single-handedly win the game. 

If Toronto can shut down the two kids on that top line though, they should have a fighting chance to pick up a ‘W’ tonight. And especially if Mike Smith remembers he’s Mike Smith and plays poorly as Mike Smith is known to do.

And for God’s sake, watch out for Ekman-Larsson! Stop sleeping on this guy! He is so, so good!

LW C RW
Max Domi 
Max Domi
Martin Hanzal 
Martin Hanzal
Anthony Duclair 
Anthony Duclair
Tobias Rieder 
Tobias Rieder
Tyler Gaudet 
Tyler Gaudet
Mikkel Boedker 
Mikkel Boedker
Kyle Chipchura 
Kyle Chipchura
Brad Richardson 
Brad Richardson
Shane Doan 
Shane Doan
Jordan Martinook 
Jordan Martinook
Boyd Gordon 
Boyd Gordon
Steve Downie 
Steve Downie

Defensive Pairings
Oliver Ekman-Larsson 
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Michael Stone 
Michael Stone
Klas Dahlbeck 
Klas Dahlbeck
Zbynek Michalek 
Zbynek Michalek
Nicklas Grossmann 
Nicklas Grossmann
Connor Murphy 
Connor Murphy

Starting Goaltenders

What to Watch For…

  • If you’re a Leafs fan, keep your head up for leading scorer Leo Komarov
  • If you’re a Coyotes player, keep your head up for shift disturber Leo Komarov
  • Ok, so Leo is actually sharing the Leafs scoring lead with Dion Phaneuf. Watch out for him too. It’s weird to say, but Dion has been looking pretty damn good this year (relatively speaking)
  • TLN and Arizona superfan writer Cat Silverman. If the Coyotes win, she’s celebrating with pizza. If they lose, she’ll console herself with pizza. I guess she’s a pizza superfan, too. She’s also got your TLN post-game article tonight
  • Gary Empey

    Re- ” Toronto will be without second line center Tyler Bozak”. When did he get demoted. I thought he was injured. I know Kadri and JVR have looked better with Komarov on the line. This line looks like it may stay together but is it offical ?