Game Preview: The ‘Lumbus visits Toronto

Game Preview: The ‘Lumbus visits Toronto

231
David Clarkson

Tyler Bozak is expected to return to the top line between James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel tonight as the Leafs close out a five-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As much as Dave Bolland was off to a great start for the Leafs in an expanded role, he has to be an afterthought for the team given the length of his recovery time. This is as healthy as the Leafs are going to get for a long time, so let’s hope to start seeing them play some of their best hockey.

Last meeting:

The last time out against the Blue Jackets, exactly a month ago today, the Leafs fell 5-2 in David Clarkson’s debut game. The Leafs took way too many penalties, six throughout the game, and it seemed to repeatedly kill their momentum any time they had a good shift or two. A loss in the special teams battle proved costly as they conceded one powerplay goal and allowed a shorthanded goal in the third period. So did a few bad third-period turnovers leading directly to goals.

Overall, the move to the weaker East hasn’t changed much for the Blue Jackets, however, as they’re struggling in every major category. Much like baseball’s BJs, these guys are flaccid. They’re bottom 10 in goals for, goals against, five-on-five goal differential, powerplay, penalty kill, shots for and shots against. Losing Marian Gaborik for a month to six weeks with a knee injury won’t help them turn things around any time soon either.

Gotta be Startin’ Reimer:

The league’s save percentage leader, James Reimer, will get the start for the Leafs, his first pair of consecutive starts in the month of November. Saturday night’s 49-save performance was a statement game for Optimus and one he’ll look to build on tonight. One of the amazing stats kicking around Twitter after the game was the nugget that, of the 4 occasions a goalie has won while facing 49 shots or more since Reimer entered the league in January of 2010, Reimer was responsible for three of them.

Indeed, 50 shots is crazy, but the more bizarre part is that it’s not all that far out of the typical range of rubber Reimer has faced on a game by game basis this season. Here is the breakdown of the 8 games Reimer has played start to finish:

Opponent
Result
MIN
W
L
GAA
SA
SV%
Average1.7440.955
WASW 2-165100.92500.980
BUFW 4-260102.01350.943
@ BOSL 1-360012.01330.939
@ VANL 0-460014.00470.915
@ EDMW 4-060100.00431.000
PITW 4-160101.00380.974
MINW 4-160101.00370.973
@ MONW 4-360103.01370.919

40 shots per game on average. Bernier, in his 13 games played from start to finish, has averaged 33.5 shots against.

Maybe Reimer will get a reprieve tonight:


***

Projected Lineup:

- Peter Holland and Paul Ranger are expected to sit. Meaning, Carlyle will stick with Raymond, McClement and Kulemin as his checking line and McLaren, Smithson and Orr as his fourth line. On D, Rielly will stay in the lineup on Fraser’s right.

Projected Lineup
 
 
Left WingCenterRight Wing
JvRBozakKessel
LupulKadriClarkson
RaymondMcClementKulemin
McLarenSmithsonOrr
Scratched: Holland, Smith
Left DefenseRight Defense
PhaneufGunnarsson
GardinerFranson
FraserRielly
Scratched: Ranger
Goalies
Starter: Reimer
Bernier
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]
170 comments
docyqx
docyqx

Methinks the BJ's are gonna experience a whole different David Clarkson, than they did his first game back...

Kadri, Clarkson and Lupul could give the blue jackets nightmares , just starting to get that fine tuned chemistry and look very dangerous

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Pierre LeBrun ‏@Real_ESPNLeBrun

1m

Players in the suit vs. the league: Gary Leeman, Brad Aitken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes, Bob Manno, and Blair Stewart, Morris Titanic and Rick Vaive.

Mind Bomb
Mind Bomb

Evening Folks, 7-0 Leafs, we simply pulverize them, they actually pull the goalie 3 times tonight breaking an NHL record :)


mcloki
mcloki

Love the stat that Reimer has 3 of the 40 wins in over 50 shot games. Only in Toronto is the story that opponents are beating their heads against a Wall, night after night, The defence is stymying their very attempts to score and rather play up the stellar defensive play and SPECTACULAR GOALTENDING they complain about the number of shots the opposition takes.

Hey MSM geniuses the other team gets paid roughly 64 million a year NOT to put shots on net. But to put shots in NET. There's a big difference.

papa_Burke
papa_Burke

That line is starting to look dangerous they play the dump and chase game well and Clarksons a freakin warrior

rustynail
rustynail

@The Truth Hurts interesting that their "association" has been a big stumbling block in changes to rules and equipment

Marlies Man
Marlies Man

@The Truth Hurts All future contracts should have a concussion clause stating you're enormous salary takes into account you may get seriously conked in the noggin. What's next? A boxing lawsuit.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Burtonboy 

Now we know why Vaive is personna non grata in Leafland after having a couple of 50 goals seasons.

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@mcloki Hell ya.....sure wouldn't be the same story if it was Price or Luongo.....MSM Assholes

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@Burtonboy 

"Your honour, as our first piece of evidence I'd like to submit this video of Jared Cowan intentionally smashing one of the leagues best players in the face with his elbow.  Mr.  Bettman, can you please explain what steps your league took as a result of this grievous assault"

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Burtonboy @Mind Bomb Trap Shrap.....Bozie's back and they're gonna be in trouble.....if they see him comin', better cut out on the double.....If I was them I'd take a permanent vacation....lol    Leafs are winning this one, in regulation by 2 or more goals  :)

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Mind Bomb LOL...he's goin' down....down, down, down, down, down.....sorry....couldn't resist...lol  :)

Mind Bomb
Mind Bomb

I would have change my name immediatley at 18 lol