Leafs/Wild Preview

Leafs/Wild Preview

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    Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will try and make it 3 wins in a row as they host the Minnesota Wild. Toronto is just 6 points out of a playoff position with 2 games on hand. A win tonight would add to their current point streak of 11 points in their last 7 games.

    Jonas Gustavsson gets the nod for tonight as Ron Wilson is following the code of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

    “It’s strictly, if you win and you’re playing well, you get back in,” said Wilson after yesterday’s practice. “It’s exactly what you want. There’s no controversy here or anything like that. (Gustavsson) is playing well. Sure, Vesa wants to play but this kid, he deserves the shot to play and we’re playing well in front of him. We’ll keep it going until I need to make another change.

    Gustavsson is coming off an incredible performance on Saturday. He shut down the Red Wings, made dramatic key saves at important times and nearly earned himself his first shutout as a Maple Leaf.

    “(Saturday) must be our best game so far,” rookie goaltender Jonas Gustavsson said. “The ‘D’ helped me a lot and the forwards scored some goals. Perfect.”

    The Leafs are also expecting Mike Komisarek to suit up today. The rugged defenseman took yesterday off to nurse his ailing tailbone, but is not expected to miss any action.

    There is still no word if Garnett Exelby will replace Jeff Finger in the lineup tonight, but after a solid outing on Saturday night in which he tallied 2 points, including a shorthanded goal, it’s difficult to imagine the Leafs continuing without Finger on the bench.

    Phil Kessel will also be looking to continue his current point streak. The American Sniper has 3 points in his 3 games as a member of the Maple Leafs and looks to continue his strong performance on the team’s powerplay and top line.

    It was a miserable start to the season, but every Leaf fan is pleased with the overall team performance over the last two weeks. Should the Leafs lose tonight to the Wild – who currently own the worst record in the Western Conference – it would be taking a step backwards for Toronto. That said, the Wild should not be taken lightly as they are 5-5-0 in their last ten and sport a solid 85.0% penalty kill.

    Team Comparison:

    Powerplay: TOR 1st (26.6%), MIN 21st (18.3%)
    Penalty Kill: TOR 30th (73.0%), MIN 4th (85.0%)
    Faceoff % – TOR 22nd (48.6%), MIN 3rd (52.6%)
    Average Shots For: TOR 5th (32.7), MIN 25th (28.1)
    Average Shots Against: TOR 19th (30.9), MIN 6th (27.6)
    Average Goals For: TOR 20th (2.60), MIN 28th (2.19)
    Average Goals Against: TOR 29th (3.60), MIN 22nd (3.06)
    5 on 5 Goals For/Against Ratio: TOR 27th (0.68), MIN 29th (0.61)

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    Micheal A. Aldred
    [email protected]