The Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to get back on track tonight as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes at home. It will be the only meeting with the Coyotes this season and the Leafs will be in tough. Last season, Phoenix handily beat Toronto 5-1 at home, a game which you might remember more for Mike Brown’s controversial hit on Ed Jovanovski.
This is the second game of Phoenix’s five game road trip and they are already 4-1-1 on the road, making this no easy task for the Buds. The Coyotes shutout San Jose on Saturday to kick off this road trip.
For Toronto, Ben Scrivens gets the start after playing a solid game on Saturday night despite taking the loss. This comes amidst rumours that the Leafs have been in contact with Marty Turco, so the pressure will be dialed up tonight on the young Scrivens.
Toronto will be looking for scoring from anywhere but the Phil Kessel line, who has scored every Leaf goal since the November 3rd game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. There will be a particular pressure on the Grabovski unit to score as they have yet to recapture their success from last season and they have been hearing it from fans and media alike all week.
For Phoenix, despite losing Ilya Bryzgalov this summer, they have remained competitive and are playing relatively well. Coming in with an 8-4-3 record, this is not an easy game by any means and it will set the tone for the upcoming week in which the Leafs will take on Nashville, Washington, and Carolina.
With Tim Connolly still hurt, the Leafs will ice the same lineup that lost to Ottawa on Saturday. While Phoenix’s lineup is still not official, based on Saturday and the fact that the Leafs aren’t dressing an enforcer, it doesn’t look as if Paul Bissonnette will be in for Phoenix either.
Both teams role four lines pretty consistently, so it should be a fast paced, up-tempo game.