Game Preview: The ‘Lumbus visits Toronto

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David Clarkson
Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

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:

OpponentResultMINWLGAASASV%
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
  • lieffan

    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.

  • sniperstar

    I probably would have kept Smith or Holland in for this game in case something happens to Bozie throughout the game.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/405041975893565440
    Foligno on Reimer: “He kind of just holds his position really well, patient & tough to read as a shooter & that’s what makes him so good”

  • sniperstar

    TheCanucksnaphook Only a little bit.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    @lieffan GET IT IT’S A DICK JOKE

  • Black_Hawk

    Erat wants out of WSH, demanding a trade now. Makes sense since he never really worked out there.

  • lukethenuke

    need 3 of 4 games this week I believe to start separating ourselves… Buffalo and Montreal would be nice, and one of Pits and tonight…. preferably both!

  • sniperstar

    lukethenuke We seem to play Pits well so i think it’s possible to take 4/4 this week.

  • lukethenuke

    TheCanucksnaphook lukethenuke 3 of 4 is fair goal

  • wiski

    lukethenuke Time to feed now cause when the HBO cameras show up in December, we play SJ Bos LA Chic St Louis Pens

  • sniperstar

    wiski lukethenuke So we go on a 6 game winning streak?

  • lukethenuke

    hoolihan yup good news

  • Uncle Otis

    Alec Brownscombe 
    I’m still looking at Mrs Carleton lol
    Gave you a dozen but wouldn’t get my hopes up Boss
    Yowza

  • Marlies Man

    wiski lukethenuke Hmm, I forgot about HBO being around then. That is a tough stretch but hopefully the boys give ‘er 110 per cent so they don’t look bad on tv.

  • Loric76

    TheCanucksnaphook wait, you left?

  • dlb eh

    did you know that Ron Wilson was an excellent coach when Reimer was healthy and playing goal for him?

  • Loric76

    TheCanucksnaphook Loric76 what’s sarcasm?

  • Black_Hawk

    Bruffins lol what he say?

  • dlb eh

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    i only had one rock to throw.  i’ll get you next time

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrunhttps://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrun/status/405046218805354496
    Martin Erat actually asked the Caps for a trade one week into the season and then once again last weekend. Caps will try to move him.

  • dlb eh

    Uncle Otis
    thanks.  but that’s me you’re voting for when you click on her.

  • BERNYAY

    GOTTA BE DOWN WITH REIMER

  • dlb eh

    Bruffins
    that sounds familiar

  • djamon

    Loric76 He only cost them Filip Forsberg…so all good there.

  • Loric76

    djamon Loric76 https://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrunhttps://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrun/status/405046348765876225
    Zero goals on the season, but the fact his salary dips to $2.25 million next season may help his value (cap hit stays $4.5 M).

  • Alec Brownscombe

    @BERNYAY Forgot how awesome that was.

  • Uncle Otis

    dlb eh
    MilkaWhat?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–soCN-QRwo

  • dlb eh

    Alec Brownscombe 
    seems people forget we were singing all sorts of songs about the guy

  • Uncle Otis

    hoolihan 
    hahaha…Yes,I noticed that too
    Too young to know better :)

  • MaxwellHowe

    Gotta go with Dan Aykroyd’s drunken dirty Santa, from Trading Places, for the Christmas Avatar

  • Black_Hawk

    Loric76 yeah i made reference to this below. Wonder who goes for him.

  • Black_Hawk

    Bruffins Black_Hawk lol nice

  • Alec Brownscombe

    dlb eh Alec Brownscombe Not I, sir. Not I.

  • dlb eh

    Alec Brownscombe
    no, not everyone.  still many.

  • MaxwellHowe

    The gun to the head will be particularly appropriate if the Blue Jackets beat the Leafs again tonite

  • Uncle Otis

    Bruffins 
    Bozak,Clarkson  and refs… oh my
    Randy seems to be going through menopause

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook MaxwellHowe except fuck puritanical cable TV for editing it out

  • GeorgeCastanza

    lukethenuke   I think the schabs are poised to go on a ‘roid run like they did last season….and with help from their french officials I think they’ll secure a playoff spot.

  • Mind Bomb

    Loric76 djamon  So the Islanders then :)

  • Alec Brownscombe

    If anyone wants one of the 2013-14 MLHS team shirts and has yet to grab one… only two days left.
    http://teespring.com/mlhs

  • wendelsway1

    dlb eh Alec Brownscombe I’ve always been a Reimer fan….he has the mental makeup to play and be successful in the Toronto market. GO REIMS!!

  • wendelsway1

    TheCanucksnaphook MaxwellHowe Ha ha….any Jamie Lee Curtis movie is a great movie……..according to my Hubby..lol

  • theacs1966

    Alec Brownscombe Looks like this one was a very popular design.  How about reversing the colors like is done with the Jerseys?  Home Blue and Road White?  Is that an option?  Maybe for the next design.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook Alec Brownscombe

  • MaxwellHowe

    If Kessel is hurtin’ ( and hence the reduced playing time), and Bozak is just back from injury, maybe the Leafs would be better of playing JVR with Kadri and Clarkson.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    theacs1966 Alec Brownscombe I wouldn’t trust selling anything white to the denizens of MLHS.

  • wiski

    Look what the mailman just brought me 😉

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook MaxwellHowe they have a history

  • theacs1966

    wendelsway1 TheCanucksnaphook MaxwellHowe I’ve been a guy a long time and that is more of an endorsement of her tits, then her movies or acting.

  • Mind Bomb

    wiski Should have asked for Mrs Carleson ! :)