Game Preview: Leafs Go West

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A 9 p.m. EST start for the Leafs vs. Oilers tonight as Toronto gets its three-game road swing through Western Canada kicked off in Edmonton.

In their last meeting on Thanksgiving weekend, the Leafs capitalized on Edmonton’s tenuous hold on leads late in hockey games and stole a win out from under Dallas Eakins’ team. The Leafs were down 5-4 with under a minute to go before Lupul put another soft one through Devin Dubnyk (also thanks to an amazing diving Bernier glove save on Mark Arcobello that would’ve sealed the game). Bolland, sensing the opportunity to score an important goal, finished the game in OT.

The game was river hockey, littered with odd man opportunities and traded chances, and featured basically zero physical play. With David Clarkson back and the Leafs finding success against the Penguins on Saturday in part thanks to a ratcheting up of the physical factor – first to pucks and winning more one-on-one battles – that hopefully will not be the case tonight.

The Oilers have lost Taylor Hall to injury since the two teams met in early October, but have since got center Sam Gagner back in the lineup. Twice-scratched Nail Yakupov has been playing on the top line in Hall’s place with Gagner and Eberle.

On the road, the Leafs would be best to finish their checks, slow the Oilers down, play a tighter game, and capitalize on the inevitable mistakes committed by this Oilers team. The Leafs aren’t beyond getting into a goal-for-goal shootout either, so it will be interesting to see what direction this game takes.

With a hilarious .880 team save percentage, the Oilers turned to third-string goaltender Richard Bachman on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Kings, and he was positively lights out in stopping 47 shots in a shootout loss – including 28 saves in the third period alone to grab the Oilers an undeserved loser point. Hopefully the Leafs’ high-percentage shooting brings Bachman down to Earth, but it’s possible the Leafs could be running into the 5’10″ former Stars backup at the wrong time. He had a .885 SV% in 13 games with the Stars last season.

James Reimer will be in net for the Leafs, of course, because he was the team’s first star in stopping 37 of 38 shots on Saturday night. With a good showing tonight, Carlyle would likely go to Bernier tomorrow in Calgary, as it is a back to back, and then return to Reimer on Saturday vs. the Canucks.

Reimer is 2-0-0 against the Oilers in his career, with two wins in the span of ten days against the Oilers in February of 2012. He stopped 56 of 62 shots (.903 sv%).

Joffrey Lupul is considered a game time decision with his bruised foot bone. He scored twice in the Leafs’ 6-5 overtime win against the Oilers on Thanksgiving weekend, including the dramatic late tying goal.

If Lupul can’t go, I would expect the exact same lineup Carlyle iced on Saturday. If he plays, one would imagine he will join Bolland and Clarkson on line two with Raymond bumped to line three, although Carlyle has liked Raymond next to Bolland and Lupul was skating with Ashton and McClement on line three in practice.

John Michael Liles, called up as an extra defenceman for the Western road trip, is not expected to play tonight.

 LeafsOilers
Record8-4-03-8-2
GF/G3.25 (5th)2.69 (17th)
GA/G2.50 (9th)3.77 (30th)
SF/G26.9 (29th)27.7 (26th)
SA/G34.9 (28th)31.4 (19th)
PP26.7% (3rd)13.3% (24th)
PK85.1% (6th)75.5% (29th)
5 on 5 F/A1.10 (11th)0.81 (23rd)
Sh%12.1% (3rd)9.7% (10th)
Sv%92.8% (5th)88.0% (30th)
FO%44.5 (28th)51.8 (12th)

Last Meeting:

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    GO LEAFS GO, LETS GET THE BIG W!!!

  • Kouba

    Cheer on the team, make fun of opponent and scold the refs lol Go Leafs Go!

  • Bernier_The_Boats

    4-2 Leafs…Kessel, JVR, Bolland and Kessel with the goals….(In that order)..

  • Burtonboy

    Interesting Carlyle interview from today
    http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console

  • Xxxxxnew

    SportsnetSpec: Eakins said Kadri had to commit to changing his game to play in the NHL, and did so. How many Oilers are at that point? “We have a number.”
    SportsnetSpec: Eakins: “We’ve got to … be much more worried about the 2 points at the end of the night than the 2 points in our individual columns.”

  • Bernier_The_Boats

    Hopefully Lups can grace us with our presence tonight as well!!

  • Pent_House

    I could have sworn the game starts at 930

  • Jmessih

    Burtonboy What did he say?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jmessih Burtonboy Lazy

  • lludson

    Leafs are going to drill ’em tonight!  http://i.imgur.com/NpOyJNB.jpg

  • peterbleafs

    Xxxxxnew Gee like that wasnt obvious in how they played.

  • Jmessih

    Alec Brownscombe Jmessih Burtonboy Who is Lazy? So far the interview sounds lazy lol

  • Kouba

    Bernier_The_Boats tweeting from the stands?

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    lludson who makes these?

  • Kouba

    Dangle_My_Berries lludson Hollywood

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Dallas Eakins Pre-Game
    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=471516&catid=4

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jmessih Good stuff on Naz I thought.

  • lludson

    Dangle_My_Berries lludson  I do.  =)  Just for fun…  GLG!

  • Alec Brownscombe

    lludson Dangle_My_Berries You made this for real? Awesome. Were you behind Release the Clarkson as well?

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    media keeps bringing up that Edmonton has the best ice in the league…..whats so special? is it cause its so cold up there they don’t have to artificially freeze the place?

  • lludson

    Alec Brownscombe lludson Dangle_My_Berries Yeah. Did you see the one I did for the Ducks? That’s the only other one, other than one I tweeted to Bozak over the whole Miley Cyrus thing. But I don’t want to derail the thread.  =)

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    lludson Alec Brownscombe Dangle_My_Berries 
    I saw the ducks/leafs one. Did you do the Release the Clarkson one, too?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    lludson Alec Brownscombe Dangle_My_Berries We’re just shitting around until game time. Fire away, let’s see em

  • lludson

    DeclanK lludson Alec Brownscombe Dangle_My_Berries Yes. I didn’t put my name on it because it was kinda meant as a wallpaper…

  • CHRONIC BLAZE

    Confirmation: 4-2 leafs with Jay “I Kill Penalties” McClemment with the unreal empty netter so everyone betting leafs by 1.5 gets some cash

  • lludson

    Alec Brownscombe lludson Dangle_My_Berries Hah ok. This was the Miley one. He favourited it in two minutes after I sent it, hah. Told him it was in good fun and Leaf Nation loves them… 
    http://i.imgur.com/M444atM.jpg

  • Alec Brownscombe

    CHRONIC BLAZE Thanks Chronic, I’ll bet the over.

  • CHRONIC BLAZE

    I haven’t gave it to fenton in a while so p.s. fenton feel it

  • Jmessih

    Alec Brownscombe Jmessih Ya, gave him some good praise, but quietly, didn’t need to yell it out atta b RC.

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    https://twitter.com/RealBillWatters
    7.1 Mil for 8 yrs ?Are you kidding ?For Phaneuf?I’m sorry,this is an outrageous misrepresentation of his value.4 years @ 4 mil per is risky.
    Oh Bill you crazy crazy old man

  • Alec Brownscombe

    The_Polish_Cannon HAHHAA

  • Mind Bomb

    The_Polish_Cannon  Dear God he gets worse

  • Marlies Man

    Alec Brownscombe The_Polish_Cannon He’s got a real future … in comedy.

  • Burtonboy

    The_Polish_Cannon When I start getting too opinionated I think about Bill Watters and pull in my horns real fast . Who wants be a senile old fart like him lol

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oStJ7eUbdOE&feature=em-uploademail

  • Reimocerous

    The_Polish_Cannon Just wow.

  • Dan39

    My prediction: 5-2 LEAFS if we play physical. 
    And by play physical, I want to see us play with intensity, hitting, battling and I’d like to see Orr shwo Gazdic what being a top 5 HW in the NHL is all about! 
    If we don’t play physical, or if Bodie drops the gloves and embarrasses the team again, we still win but it’s 3-2 and we only get the 2 points because Reimer steals it for us.

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    Burtonboy The_Polish_Cannon a man so far removed from any understanding of the game today it is laughable

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    https://twitter.com/LeafsNews/status/395298197389578240

  • wiski

    The_Polish_Cannon Burtonboy You have to pay for xm for his wisdom today 😉

  • docyqx

    Burtonboy  I luv Carlyle interviews… for some strange reason….he puts me in mind of Pat Quinn smoking a big JOINT instead of a cigar….

  • Mind Bomb

    DeclanK  Thank you Declan, for sending that to him, I hope he feels shame

  • Jordan29

    Whats this Phaneuf talk and whos playing tonight?

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    If the Leafs would show some of that physicality we saw a season ago, I’d have no problem with the opponent dominating the possession game.

  • Ryan

    https://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrunhttps://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrun/status/395272681093730304
    Another wrinkle in the Vanek deal: if the 1st round pick NYI sent Buff ends up top 10 in June, Isles have option to defer the pick to 2015

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jordan29 Confused eh Jord?

  • Ryan

    https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenziehttps://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/395011973047279616
    “https://twitter.com/penguins:Rob Scuderi has broken ankle. Will require surgery later this week. No timetable.”/ Hmm, knew it was bad but not this bad.

    Release of the Clarkson alive and kicking ass

  • Jordan29

    Alec Brownscombe Jordan29 i dont understamd why we are talking about him though

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jordan29 Alec Brownscombe Bill Watters said something outrageous (worth 4 mill a season, but even that would be “risky”)

  • Jordan29

    Alec Brownscombe Jordan29 is therre a rumor deal soon though?