LGD: Wish upon a Star

article_7baf1ad1-9649-41f8-8d58-b32997f777bb
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SPORTS

The best part about this being a home game? If Toronto’s recently existant struggles continue, they’ll be met with boos or silence, not piercing goal horns and cheering. The better solution, though? Not give up a billion goals. That’s the intention of the Leafs tonight, as they take on the Dallas Stars at the Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

Looking like business as usual again tonight. Alexey Marchenko continues to wait for his moment to make his debut. The hope, I’d imagine, is that letting the group figure themselves out again has more potential gain than trying to shuffle everybody up and create a new Leafs identity with the same deck chairs.

The Stars

Dallas Stars lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

Some would tell you that they never expected Patrick Eaves to play on the first line of an NHL team, let alone in the late stages of his career. Those people have clearly not played NHL 08, where he and Antoine Vermette were the best sleeper duo in the history of sports video games.

Starting Goaltenders

Antti Niemi is expected to start for the Stars. Once a Stanley Cup champion on a good, young team, Niemi now is a beacon of whatifisms, currently posting a season save percentage of 0.900. Playing for the Stars has not been kind to the 33-year-old Finn, who posted a 0.905 last year and really hasn’t been the same since leaving the San Jose Sharks.

On the other side of the pipes, you have Curtis McEhlinney, who let in the latter three goals the last time these two teams squared off. In his three appearances this season, he’s managed to put up a 0.916 save percentage; hopefully, this trend of general competence continues tonight.

What To Look Out For

I think what the Leafs are hoping for tonight is pretty obvious; they’re going to look to make this spell of poor defensive games come full circle. Since the last time that these two teams met, Toronto have given up 22 goals in four games; by far their worst stretch of the season. But that’s high even for a dreadful defensive team, so expecting it to keep happening would be a little ludicrous, and after keeping Dallas to a single tally in the final two periods of lay on the 31st, there’s some evidence that they could theoretically hold the fort tonight.

Also, be ready for the broadcast to bring up all of Dallas’ Toronto-area raised players, especially Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza, who have scored a lot against the Leafs in their career because they’re Leaf killers, and not because they’re very good and the Leafs have been bad for most of their tenures.

You can catch this game on TSN; puck drop is at 7:30 PM.

  • LukeDaDrifter

    With playing so many of our recent games on the road and now this home game after playing last night, the Leafs have had very little time to practice and work on their defensive game. Dallas have lost their last two games, yet still they are only 5 points out of a playoff spot.

    The reason LukeWarmWater missed yesterday’s game is because he was busy with his grandson in the backyard. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    • Stan Smith

      With the schedule like it is the Leafs aren’t going to have any time to work on their defensive game for the rest of the season. They are going to have to do it on the fly.

      I liked the last line. Don’t let life pass you by.

  • LukeWarmWater

    Jeff I see you indeed are quoting the late great astronomer Carl Sagan who talked about billions and billions. So far 2 to 0 tonight after 2 periods, just have to get through those rapids in the third period especially when they crest in the last 2 minutes of the game with the opponent pulling the goalie.

    I just don’t want to see in the third, the leafs without a paddle going up the creek. Clear that freaking puck out of our zone.