The Leafs are looking to prolong their great start to the season against a Canadian rival. Regardless of how people might feel on the issue, the big story tonight will undoubtedly be the play of Cody Franson, who wanted an in game opportunity to prove himself.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, heâ€™ll get the nod on defense tonight, while Jake Gardiner is expected to sit this one out allowing Franson to make his season debut alongside Mike Komisarek.
Hereâ€™s what the captain had to say on the matter:
â€œYou need at least seven guys to be successful. Injuries happen, lineups can change and it’s just part of being a good team. Guys go in, they go out, and they step up when they’re needed. I know all seven of our guys are capable of doing that job.â€
The Flames are coming into this game with a gaping hole down the middle of the ice. Their 2 centermen, Mikael Backlund and Brendan Morrison, are both out with injuries. Backlund has a broken finger and is expected to miss another six weeks, while Morrison has knee problems. Calgary will start Kiprusoff in goal.
Shots on goal are hardly a be-all-end-all statistic, but the shot sheet should have the Flames and their fans a little alarmed. Over the three games, the Flames have mustered just 58 shots on goal, an average of less than 20 per outing. They managed just one shot in the third period against the Canadiens, a game which they convincingly won, and that’s after firing only two shots in the third period against St. Louis. This lack of offensive power is something the Leafs should look to exploit by scoring first and scoring early.
Gunnarsson â€“ Phaneuf
Liles â€“ Schenn
Franson â€“ Komisarek
Goalie: James Reimer
The Leafs are without Tim Connolly (upper body) and Nazem Kadri (knee) says he’s ready to return, but won’t feature tonight. Â Gardiner, Orr and Rosehill will sit this one out too.