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LGD: Pick-Up Hockey

It’s Game Day! And a special one at that:

A mere couple of hours after I was wondering whether tonight would be a McElvezina or McElheinous showing, I’m now excited to finally see Calvin Pickard make his Leafs debut. Against his former team, no less. Life comes at you fast.

The Leafs (23-14-1) are back in action for the second night in a row to face off against the Colorado Avalanche (17-16-3), who are actually above .500 in these waning days of 2017 after a historically abysmal season last year.

Both teams are coming off of post-Christmas games against the Coyotes. The Avs lost 3-1 to the Yotes on Wednesday night while the Leafs downed Arizona in a messy game last night, 7-4. The Leafs will need to clean things up if they want to snag a second win in as many nights.

Leafs Lines

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY
Ron Hainsey
RON HAINSEY
Jake Gardiner
JAKE GARDINER
Connor Carrick
CONNOR CARRICK
Andreas Borgman
ANDREAS BORGMAN
Roman Polak
ROMAN POLAK

Nazem Kadri missed the bulk of last night’s game after taking a hit from Lawson Crouse, but Mike Babcock appeared optimistic after the game that Kadri would be good to go for tonight. Leafs Nation can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief for Naz.

Avalanche Lines

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Nikita Zadorov
NIKITA ZADOROV
Erik Johnson
ERIK JOHNSON
Patrik Nemeth
PATRIK NEMETH
Mark Barberio
MARK BARBERIO
Samuel Girard
SAMUEL GIRARD
Anton Lindholm
ANTON LINDHOLM

The Avs are boasting a couple of strong scorers this season, with 2 players over 30 points to the Leafs’ zero, though Matthews and Marner are both knocking on the door with 29 each. Nathan McKinnon has 40 points to his name (15G, 25A) and 21-year old Mikko Raantanen has 32 points in 36 games. Not too shabby at all.

23-year old Alexander Kerfoot has also had an impressive start to his NHL career, with 23 points thus far in his rookie campaign (9G, 14A).

Starting Goalies

It’ll be Semyon Varlamov against Calvin Pickard tonight, as we all totally-100-percent expected. Pickard comes in to face his former team for the first time in his first game for the big boys in Blue and White. He’s been an impressive .919 goaltender for the Marlies this season who has earned a look, for sure.

Varlamov, meanwhile, has been a pedestrian .909 through 24 games. Not good, but when your other option is Jonathan Bernier your hands are kind of tied.

Notes

  • A win tonight would put the Leafs ten games over .500 through 39 games. Through 39 games last season, they were 18-13-8.
  • The Leafs’ last game against Colorado was a 6-0 trouncing of the Avalanche on December 22, 2016. I wouldn’t mind another tonight, especially with the offense buzzing again.

Also, some food for thought:

Puck Drop is at 9pm ET on SNO. Let’s see who Paul Romanuk proclaims dead tonight!

Make the Pint your home for all things game day. We give away a free pound of wings during every game either home or away. 4.40$ mugs of Bud and Bud Lights



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