Game Preview: Leafs Go West

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.

 
Leafs
Oilers
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:

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]
208 comments
lludson
lludson

Hah, Gagne bought a bone stimulator...

ParadePlanner
ParadePlanner

Rexall place sounds louder than the ACC when we score.....

lludson
lludson

Isn't it nice not to have Bill Waters as part of the crew? I still wish Joe Bowen did ALL games. Seriously. No one comes close...

Jordan29
Jordan29

oh my fuck.......are we gonna have to listen to this all night?

Burkiesbiglue
Burkiesbiglue

This 9 oclock business sucks its definately fatty time...go leafs go!

Jordan29
Jordan29

With Alfredsson gone now, I dont even want to see another sens leafs playoff series really. Not as much hate anymore. I feel....weird 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Fuck the Turds.... 1-0 for the Hawks ...pile it on boys 

Spayde_D
Spayde_D

Sorry guys, I'm in a rush. Any updates on Lupul in the last few min?

wendelsfist
wendelsfist

Which game is the most entertaining to watch this hour before the leafs game?

peterbleafs
peterbleafs

Ah an early finish to an evening meeting, now I can relax and watch the game.  Also to whom it may concern, your 649 needs are covered to end of november :)

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

Leafs  can't possibly lose this game against a goalie named Richard Bachman, we all know it really is Stephen King in net tonight.

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

Kind of interesting to watch Dallas at Montreal tonight...Dallas could be a trading partner later in season. Robidas is pending UFA $3.3M hit right handed and very solid Dman. 

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

Hey, happy birthday brother, Leafs beat Anaheim on mine last week, so lets hope the Leafs continue to deliver for the denizens of MLHS

The_Polish_Cannon
The_Polish_Cannon

@ingy56 let's hope. Didn't he already say earlier he'll take part in the warm-up to see how he feels first ? So this shouldn't be an indication of him playing or not

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Jordan29 

Just replace Alfredsson's face with Smith's face. It does it for me :)

Leafbites
Leafbites

@CanuckUKinToronto Speaking for someone that lives on the coast, I'm just happy to get a few evening games instead of the usual late afternoon games. 

peterbleafs
peterbleafs

@Jordan29 @peterbleafs I had a long day lol.  I havent predicted a Leafs score so far this season and its worked, so Im not going to predict one at all.    However, I think the Leafs will not take this game lightly so Edmonton will not have the offensive chances they did last game.

Leafbites
Leafbites

@CanuckUKinToronto @Komas Taberle lol, I watched him play the Kings the other night and at one point I think I unintentionally said to myself, wow that Bachman has turned into overdrive.