LGD: Blue on both sides

It was just days ago that the Leafs’ season was again ready to be written off, another 18-wheeler set to go over the cliff. But with a three-game point streak quickly put together, today Toronto finds itself tied for second in the Atlantic and just eight points back of the division-leading Canadiens with three games in hand. It’s been, and will continue to be, a constant battle of highs and lows for this team, especially given their style. Tonight they’ll go to work looking to keep this high point going, sole possession of that second seed potentially in the cards.

Visiting the ACC tonight, the Blues are a team riding a pair of wins since canning Ken Hitchcock last week and sending in Mike Yeo, who was going to replace him at season’s end anyway. This is also a team that rolled the Leafs last week, 5-1. So yeah, this’ll be a tough one.

THE LEAFS

THE BLUES

STARTING GOALTENDERS

Andersen (0.914 sv%) has been confirmed to start tonight for the Leafs, while our friends at Daily Faceoff currently have Jake Allen (0.900) as ‘likely’ to go for St. Louis.

QUICK NUMBERS

TOR STL
Wins 25 27
Points-Percentage .577 .546
Powerplay 23.%  22.1%
Penalty Kill 83.6%  84.0%
Score-adjusted Corsi  51.3% (9th)  50.8% (13th)

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

These two teams are incredibly evenly matched, as you can see from our quick hit of numbers above. They both look to be upper-mid-pack teams who should have a say in each conference’s playoff situation down the stretch. 

The Blues’ biggest concern this season has been in net, somewhere the Leafs themselves have been a bit flimsy recently with Andersen’s play dipping hard. With the Leafs enjoying home ice advantage, I expect a better effort than last week’s stomping, but it might turn out that this game is decided by the battle between goalies. Now would be a nice time for Freddie to turn things around. 

Game goes 7:30 EST on Sportsnet Ontario.

  • LukeWarmWater

    Indeed a fine time for Freddy turning things around with a solid effort tonight. I get the defence has been porous especially lately but our back up came up with a superb performance. Andersen has been allowing some soft goals and fat juicy rebounds just waiting for the opposition to pounce on.

    The team has got to avoid the cheap penalties and get their share of the face offs, especially in their own zone. The real fans, no not the platinum blonde sushi eating selfie crowd will be into it and there should be some motivation to pay back the 5 to 1 defeat which was the first game that the new coach was behind the bench. This first game often seems to motivate a team to win one for the new coach.

    Hopefully the leafs can get 4 or 5 opportunities to put out their vaunted power play. That means the boys must be skating. Btw I was talking with another old leaf fan and we actually think this group of youngsters is the fastest skating leaf team we can recall with our following of the leafs going back to the 1950’s. Forget the Habs, the leafs are playing the fire wagon hockey.

  • Glen

    Lets hope the 18 wheeler is laid up for the winter. It is very important for Anderson to get things in order. A steady goalie will settle things down, there is no way you will win with a goaltender that is stopping less than 90% of the shots. If a team gets five goals for an NHL tender they should win the game shaky defence or not. So lets hope he gets back on track, and lets see some team defence.

  • Stan Smith

    I see hotstove has projected that Marchenko would be playing alongside Hunwick, and Polak would sit tonight, but Ryan shows Polak in and no Marchenko. Does anyone really know or are these just guesses?

    I find goal support is always a good helper in letting a goalie get his legs back, so i’m thinking if the Leafs can pot 7 or 8 goals in the first 10 minutes it might help settle Andersen down.