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:

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/BrianHuddlehttps://twitter.com/BrianHuddle/status/395301899052007425
    I hate the https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash western road swings. They play like garbage and keep me up late to watch it. I need my beauty sleep to stay handsome.

  • Ryan

    Jordan29 Alec Brownscombe 
    kypreos reported that the starting talk is 7 yrs at 50 mil per his twitter

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    https://twitter.com/RealKyper/status/395154155289186304

  • Mitch92

    So how far west does JML make it as a Leaf?  I doubt he gets past Edmonton!

  • wiski

    TheCanucksnaphook Calgary fell for phaneuf’last “big pitch”and it essentially disrupted the franchise and it’s fans for a decade.Don’t resign,if u can’t trade

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    I think that gets whittled down to 6-6.5 for Dion over 5-7 years, which is great value for him.

  • Jordan29

    @Ryan Jordan29 Alec Brownscombe I would do that. So probably a bit lower if thats the starting talk. Im really happy then !

  • Jmessih

    TheCanucksnaphook Said 4 years at 4 mil for Dion would be “risky”

  • Ryan

    DeclanK 
    If the leafs agree he would be 5th highest paid defensmen in the league. Brian Campbell would be 6th at 7.1.
    And Duncan Keith in front at 4 slot at 8 mil a season

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    MikeGartner11 DeclanK 
    Be nice to finally get some stability in the organization rather than a revolving door of GMs, Coaches, Players—especially core players. 
    Ride this core and see where they go. I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    DeclanK I suspect Phaneuf would have enough bargaining power to say 7 mill per 5 years. So for every extra year added on, you could probably drop the cap figure by half a mill. If the magic number is 7 years, I’m willing to bet Nonis can do it for under $45M… which would be a bargain, IMO.

  • peterbleafs

    CanuckUKinToronto Mitch92 Don’t think so.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    leafersutherland DeclanK 
    If the starting price is 7×7, I don’t see how it ends up there. Pretty basic negotiation tactics for both parties to draw a line in the sand and meet somewhere in the middle.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    DeclanK I’d be thrilled if we could work a 7 year deal that keeps him right where he is in terms of cap hit. He’s making 5.5 mill this season – Give him 7 m in the first few years and start tapering it off.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    CanuckUKinToronto Mitch92 Doubtful. In order to deal Liles away, the Leafs will need to take on some of the cap… which they cannot afford to do right now.

  • wiski

    MikeGartner11 DeclanK leafersutherland If waters drew the other line. lol

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    DeclanK leafersutherland I think the starting point is 7 X 5. Which is where we might not see eye to eye.

  • peterbleafs

    Wouldnt be surprised to see him go to Philadelphia for some offense.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    DeclanK But let’s not quibble over 500k on the cap if that’s what it takes (7 m). We shit that same amount of way to retain salary in the Bernier deal FFS

  • peterbleafs

    Odds not…..man a simple formula and I have to remind myself daily

  • Jmessih

    LOL – Lupul said he saw his Grandma last night and she told him that she skipped his cousins wedding in Mexico to stay here and watch him play. Lups said with a chuckle “I should probably give it my best effort to play, so will see”.

  • maple1967leafs

    Rumor has it Bill Watters auditioned for dumb and dumber but was too Stupid

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    CanuckUKinToronto leafersutherland Mitch92 I don’t think they have $500,000 to play with.

  • Jmessih

    CanuckUKinToronto Mitch92 Liles to Calgary does make some sense, Mark Giordano just went down with an injury 6-8 weeks.

  • Nikhil Daljeet

    MikeGartner11 DeclanK 
    Feel your pain.  Bought a Grabo jersey shortly after his five-year extension…

  • 17Forever

    DeclanK 
    We will get it done for 45.5 over 7 years. That will lock ihim down

  • Jmessih

    maple1967leafs The always missing dumberer

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Nikhil Daljeet MikeGartner11 DeclanK HAHA – saw that in the hangout vid, Nikhil. Nice troll work hanging it in the background.

  • wiski

    DeclanK Just curious how that breaks down between Calgary and T.O?

  • 17Forever

    Alec Brownscombe DeclanK 
    I was thinking the same number. 45.5 over 7 years

  • Cameron19

    Jmessih TheCanucksnaphook God he’s an idiot.

  • Jordan29

    I would honestly put money on that he signs an 8 year 6.5 mil deal then. Take the same money over 8 more years

  • wiski

    Where are we going and why am I in this hand-basket. 😉

  • Alec Brownscombe

    wiski Are you seeing eye to discoloured eye with Bill Watters on this Phaneuf appraisal?

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/395306597133467648
    Carlyle on Kadri: “He’s a guy that enjoys the spotlight, he enjoys talking to you people & he backs up what he says.”

  • wiski

    Alec Brownscombe wiski No Phaneuf has changed my mind this year, wish we could pay him 7 mil one year at a time. 😉

  • Xxxxxnew

    I don’t think bill realizes what defencemen get paid these days.

  • Jordan29

    If you guys stop and think about it Phaneuf will have to love playing here to sign for 6.5-7 mil. You know this summer if he was UFA he would probably get 8-9 mil from Philly. They would love him

  • Cameron19

    Jordan29 Certainly looks that way.  If he started the negotiation at 7 years 50 million, as Kypreos suggested, he’s probably hoping the Leafs counter with less money, but the extra guaranteed year.

  • Jordan29

    Cameron19 Jordan29 Yup thats what I see. I would even go as high as 7 mil. You know he will get it somewhere else if we dont give it to him

  • maple1967leafs

    Jordan29 Theres a few teams that would step up at the 8 or better number

  • Cameron19

    To Watters:

    “You are embarrassing yourself you geriatric fuck.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-mXKIs0jyI

  • maple1967leafs

    Speaking of bad GM’s can you believe Sather still has a job

  • Cameron19

    Jordan29 Cameron19 Exactly.  People need to get their panties unwadded and realize that’s what it costs to do business.  Teams have been paying Campbell more than that during a period where the salary cap was between 48 and 64 million.  We’re going to be paying the same or less, but the cap is going to be between 64 and 85 million. And we’ll have the better player!

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Jmessih do it for Grandma lups!

  • vinoa

    wiski DeclanK There was a really interesting article someone posted on one of the other threads about Phaneuf’s stats. He was a 0.6 PPG player while playing against the weakest competition in Calgary. With the Leafs he’s played against the toughest competition and still producing above 0.5 PPG. Since he entered the league only he and Lidstrom have scored over 100 goals and 230 points. If Dion’s not elite, then I guess Lidstrom isn’t either.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    vinoa wiski DeclanK Amazing

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/ElSeldohttps://twitter.com/ElSeldo/status/395309049186508800
    HEY JERKS STOP RT’ING BILL WATTERS

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Cameron19 
    HAHA – well played, Cam. Well played. 
    The fucking Catalina Wine mixer.

  • maple1967leafs

    rustynail HEY BILL QUIT BEING A JERK !!!!