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Maple Leafs Pregame #58: 5 things to watch for against Dallas

It feels like the Leafs just played Dallas. That’s fine. They also just beat Dallas and after doing some hard hitting analysis, I’ve determined that wins are good and the Leafs should want more of them.

The Stars have picked up wins in their last two games, but are a Babcockian 5-4-1 over their last 10. Also, assuming Andersen isn’t ready to go tonight, it will be a chance for Jack Campbell to face the team that drafted him and spent half a decade ruining him before his career got back on track. In his only other game against the Stars, Campbell put up a .967 save percentage, and allowed one goal in the win, so maybe sticking with the hot hand wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Lineup

LW C RW Forwards
William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 77.1#8 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 83.1#3 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 78.6#7 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 79.64#3 FL1
Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT

Rating: 71.4#92 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 79.5#14 C

Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 73.9#39 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 74.92#7 FL2
Andreas Johnsson
ANDREAS JOHNSSON

Rating: 72.8#66 LW

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 71.5#104 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 71.7#82 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.00#17 FL3
Kyle Clifford
KYLE CLIFFORD

Rating: 70.4#117 LW

Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL

Rating: 72.3#83 C

Pontus Aberg
PONTUS ABERG

Rating: 70.5#110 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.08#11 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 71.1#89 LD

Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE

Rating: 75.5#18 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.32#18 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 73.9#34 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 72.1#73 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.00#20 DL2
Rasmus Sandin
RASMUS SANDIN

Rating: 73.6#40 LD

Timothy Liljegren
TIMOTHY LILJEGREN

Rating: 73.1#44 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 73.36#8 DL3
LW C RW Forwards
Roope Hintz
ROOPE HINTZ

Rating: 74.2#38 LW

Tyler Seguin
TYLER SEGUIN

Rating: 76.1#26 C

Corey Perry
COREY PERRY

Rating: 70.9#99 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 73.76#26 FL1
Jamie Benn
JAMIE BENN

Rating: 75.0#31 LW

Jason Dickinson
JASON DICKINSON

Rating: 71.0#122 C

Denis Gurianov
DENIS GURIANOV

Rating: 71.8#80 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 72.58#22 FL2
Joel Kiviranta
JOEL KIVIRANTA

Rating: 73.2#53 LW

Mattias Janmark
MATTIAS JANMARK

Rating: 70.7#111 C

Alexander Radulov
ALEXANDER RADULOV

Rating: 76.2#15 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 73.35#3 FL3
Andrew Cogliano
ANDREW COGLIANO

Rating: 69.8#126 LW

Radek Faksa
RADEK FAKSA

Rating: 71.1#118 C

Blake Comeau
BLAKE COMEAU

Rating: 70.4#114 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.44#16 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Esa Lindell
ESA LINDELL

Rating: 75.4#13 LD

John Klingberg
JOHN KLINGBERG

Rating: 77.2#10 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.29#3 DL1
Miro Heiskanen
MIRO HEISKANEN

Rating: 76.6#7 LD

Stephen Johns
STEPHEN JOHNS

Rating: 74.1#32 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 75.32#5 DL2
Jamie Oleksiak
JAMIE OLEKSIAK

Rating: 71.8#77 LD

Andrej Sekera
ANDREJ SEKERA

Rating: 72.0#74 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.91#16 DL3

Looks like no Roman Polak tonight. Dang. I was so looking forward to the tribute montage of him flipping the puck over the boards for delay of game penalties.

Here’s five things to watch for.

1. Slumpbusters Inc.

Tyler Seguin has gone 17 games without scoring a goal. Tyler Seguin was drafted with a Leafs draft pick. Tyler Seguin might have a big night.

2. Campbell or Andersen

What about Hutchinson? Like I said above, Campbell has a bit of history with the Stars, and the one time he faced them, he did pretty darn well. If there is even a sliver of possibility that Andersen needs more time, they should go with Campbell, who also seems to be the hot hand.

3. Matthews chasing Pastrnak

Pastrnak’s hat trick makes the Rocket Richard race pretty darn interesting again, as the Leafs vs. Bruins factor probably makes us a bit more invested in it, as does the fact that they are competing with (un?)arguably the greatest goal scorer of all time in Alex Ovechkin.

I get that we mainly want the win, but Matthews goals lead to wins, so let’s have our cake and eat it too.

4. The Money Line

Nylander-Matthews-Marner might seem like a fun idea, but in practice it really isn’t and I kinda want it to go away. I’m liking that Keefe isn’t afraid to shake things up, but this doesn’t seem to be it, although the Kerfoot-Tavares-Hyman line hasn’t looked bad at all.

I for one welcome the line blend, and would possibly like to see more of Nylander on the left side, but perhaps with the opportunity to reintroduce Kapanen into the top six, but playing on the right side where he is much more comfortable.

5. Scoreboard watching

Last night was pretty uneventful from a Leafs fate perspective, the Bruins win keeps them at the top of the division, and might set up a Tampa vs. Toronto first round, which could be a fun change of pace (ignoring how good Tampa is.)

Tonight is a pretty full schedule, and features a few games to keep an eye on. The most obvious one is the Panthers vs. Flyers game, which will hopefully see the Flyers win in regulation. The Blue Jackets face the Sabres tonight, so that seems like the BJs will get some breathing room in the wild card race, although they are without Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson for a while. Also the Islanders play Nashville, so Go Perds!

The Hurricanes have the night off.

Best case scenario the Leafs end the night with a four point lead over the Panthers for 3rd in the Atlantic. Worst case scenario they are tied with the Panthers for points, with Florida having a game at hand, and they find themselves two points back of the final wild card spot. Fun.

Game time is 7PM ET and it can be seen on Sportsnet Ontario