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Photo Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

LGD: Firefighting

Tonight, the Leafs will take on a difficult opponent in the Calgary Flames. The Flames share the honors with Toronto of being among the best teams in the League this season. While the Leafs are 3rd in the Atlantic Division with 84 points, the Flames sit 1st in the Pacific Division with 89 points.

This will undoubtedly be a hard-fought contest at the Saddledome in Calgary.

Toronto comes into this game with a 6-3-1 record in the last 10 games, and Calgary’s record is slightly better at 7-2-1.

Led by Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matt Tkachuk and a whole host of other great forwards and defenders, the key weakness in Calgary is their somewhat inept goaltending in Mike Smith. As a team, the Flames have a very mediocre 19th best save percentage this year. This will be an important weakness for the Leafs to exploit, being the 3rd highest shooting percentage team in the league.

Undoubtedly the Leafs fans out in Alberta will come out in full force as they always do, swallowing up the seats in the foreign arena. Although, with the Flames being so good this season, perhaps this time we’ll see a near-even contingent of Flames fans there as well.

Leafs Lines

Mike Babcock confirmed yesterday that Tyler Ennis will draw back into the lineup in replacement of Nic Petan. It can also be assumed that Frederik Andersen will get the start after having the day off yesterday and Garret Sparks starting the Thursday night game against the Islanders.

LW C RW Forwards
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 74.8#38 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 82.0#11 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 79.3#16 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.68#16 FL1
Andreas Johnsson
ANDREAS JOHNSSON

Rating: 76.1#32 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 84.2#5 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 74.5#43 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 78.29#3 FL2
Patrick Marleau
PATRICK MARLEAU

Rating: 74.0#47 LW

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 76.0#47 C

Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN

Rating: 70.8#95 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 73.56#8 FL3
Tyler Ennis
TYLER ENNIS

Rating: 72.5#78 LW

Frederik Gauthier
FREDERIK GAUTHIER

Rating: 69.9#163 C

Trevor Moore
TREVOR MOORE

Rating: 73.5#54 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.98#4 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 79.8#6 LD

Ron Hainsey
RON HAINSEY

Rating: 72.9#53 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.39#10 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 76.1#17 LD

Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV

Rating: 70.7#87 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.43#20 DL2
Martin Marincin
MARTIN MARINCIN

Rating: 71.4#87 LD

Igor Ozhiganov
IGOR OZHIGANOV

Rating: 71.8#75 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.59#18 DL3

Flames Lines

C RW Forwards
Johnny Gaudreau
JOHNNY GAUDREAU

Rating: 81.4#8 LW

Sean Monahan
SEAN MONAHAN

Rating: 79.3#23 C

Elias Lindholm
ELIAS LINDHOLM

Rating: 78.5#29 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 79.72#8 FL1
Matthew Tkachuk
MATTHEW TKACHUK

Rating: 78.4#16 LW

Mikael Backlund
MIKAEL BACKLUND

Rating: 76.5#44 C

Michael Frolik
MICHAEL FROLIK

Rating: 74.2#47 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 76.35#11 FL2
Sam Bennett
SAM BENNETT

Rating: 71.6#115 LW

Mark Jankowski
MARK JANKOWSKI

Rating: 72.6#89 C

Austin Czarnik
AUSTIN CZARNIK

Rating: 73.3#72 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.50#14 FL3
Andrew Mangiapane
ANDREW MANGIAPANE

Rating: 72.5#77 LW

Derek Ryan
DEREK RYAN

Rating: 72.7#85 C

Garnet Hathaway
GARNET HATHAWAY

Rating: 70.6#101 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.91#7 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Mark Giordano
MARK GIORDANO

Rating: 81.0#3 LD

T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE

Rating: 78.0#18 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 79.49#4 DL1
Noah Hanifin
NOAH HANIFIN

Rating: 75.9#21 LD

Travis Hamonic
TRAVIS HAMONIC

Rating: 73.5#40 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.71#10 DL2
Oliver Kylington
OLIVER KYLINGTON

Rating: 71.8#11 LD

Rasmus Andersson
RASMUS ANDERSSON

Rating: 73.1#49 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.43#11 DL3

Preview

This battle between Western Canada’s team and the rest of Canada’s team will be an exciting contest as a showoff of skill. The Flames have been surging this season and have come from relative mediocrity to contender-ship.

With the Leafs’ defense in shambles while bemoaning the loss of Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott, the Leafs will be leaving the puck movement to the likes of Martin Marincin and Nikita Zaitsev, unconventional candidates for that job to say the least.

The game starts at 9 p.m. Eastern time and will be aired on TSN4.