Game Preview: Visiting Bob in the ‘Bus

Game Preview: Visiting Bob in the ‘Bus

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Just as the Leafs get their one $5.25 million man back in the lineup, they appear to have lost their other one. The team’s leading scorer (11 points, tied with Phil) Joffrey Lupul is doubtful for tonight with a bone bruise after taking a puck to the foot in practice. Josh Leivo, first thinking he would be down with the Marlies for a stretch, is right back with the team and likely in the lineup tonight.

Randy Carlyle was noticeably peeved in yesterday’s meeting with the media about the refusal on the part of certain members of his team, of which Lupul and Kulemin (still recovering from a broken foot after taking a Phaneuf shot to the foot in practice) are two, to wear the shot guards the team has asked all of its players to protect themselves with in practice. I get that players hate feeling restricted by equipment they deem unnecessary, but I sympathize with Carlyle here and find it annoying to me as a fan of the team. Put on the guards and take the risks during the games.

Anyway, Clarkson will look to give his team a jump in his regular season debut and they may need his help in the offensive department sans Lupul. I’m not going to write any more about Clarkson’s debut because it’s already been hyped to Gretzkian (is this a word in Canada? Now it is) proportions. It is expected Clarkson will play with Raymond and Bolland, based on practice lines, which would put Kadri with McClement and Leivo. With Carlyle’s shuffling and the injuries though, no one can say for sure and things are constantly changing up front outside of the top line.

This is the Leafs‘ first of three meetings with their new Conference foe in the Columbus Bobrovskys. Thanks to the man they call Bob, winner of the Vezina on account of a 2.00 GAA and a .932 save percentage and the perception that his team sucked, the Blue Jackets went on a surprising little run for a playoff spot last year before ultimately falling a few points short. They’re now in East and off to an inauspicious 4-5 start, but it is very early. Prized summer signing Nathan Horton is currently on the shelf rehabbing from off-season shoulder surgery.

Columbus’ biggest threat is Marian Gaborik, who has a recent history of lighting up the Leafs when he was a member of the New York Rangers. He has 4 goals and 6 points in his last two meetings with Toronto, and I still remember his four-goal game against the Leafs in January, 2011.

Jonathan Bernier is expected to start for the Leafs.

 
Leafs
Blue Jackets
Record7-3-04-5-0
GF/G3.30 (5th)2.44 (21st)
GA/G2.40 (8th)2.56 (10th)
SF/G26.8 (26th)31.1 (10th)
SA/G34.5 (27th)32.6 (23rd)
PP28.2% (2nd)21.2% (12th)
PK86.8% (4th)75.9% (25th)
5 on 5 F/A1.06 (12th)1.00 (16th)
Sh%12.3% (2nd)7.8% (21st)
Sv%93% (5th)92.2% (8th)
FO%44.7 (27th)52.2 (8th)

We’ve all watched this a couple dozen times, but it doesn’t get old.

Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]