Preview and GDT: Maple Leafs at Avalanche (9 p.m., Sportsnet)

Preview and GDT: Maple Leafs at Avalanche (9 p.m., Sportsnet)

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What happens in a meeting between two teams whose working formula is to win while outshot? We’ll find out tonight in Colorado.

 
Leafs
Avalanche
Record26-20-531-12-5
% of games spent outshot82% (41/51)54% (26/48)
Record when outshot21-15-519-4-3
Record when outshooting5-4-011-7-1
Corsi for %
(all situations)
43.6% (30th) 46.8% (26th)

Inspecting the makeup of the teams reveals why they might be fudging the stats. Both are young, skilled, fast and dangerous up front, and are shooting up around 10% (all situations). Both are positionally weak at D, but have received the quality of goaltending to compensate (Avalanche are third with a .922 save percentage, Leafs are 6th with a .919).

Watch the Avalanche a little bit and you come to the conclusion they’re similar to the Leafs except Patrick Roy has his group executing more consistently; they’re more detailed focused, harder working, and playing his system successfully.

While the Leafs employ their hotly-debated swarm system, Roy has described his defensive system as “man-to-man/support. More and more teams will have their defensemen involved in the attack, and if you play (zone), you cannot follow them.”

“The biggest part of our D-zone is our forwards, and a lot of what Patrick is telling us to do is support — play man-to-man and when someone gets beat, there’s always a guy supporting you,”  described Avs defenseman Erik Johnson.

Avs backup JS Giguere said of all the shots against earlier in the season:

“A lot from the perimeter. We’ve done a great job taking rebounds away, and the D has done a good job boxing out.”

The Avalanche play the game at a high pace, are rested, and the Leafs – in their second game in two nights – are going to be in tough trying to maintain the energy level required to scrap out a point or two. Not that this is different than any other night in the Leaf net, but Toronto will need a big performance out of James Reimer.

Projected TML Lineup
James van Riemsdyk — Tyler Bozak — Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul  – Nazem Kadri – Nikolai Kulemin
Mason Raymond — Peter Holland — Troy Bodie
Carter Ashton — Jay McClement — Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson — Dion Phaneuf
Tim Gleason — Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner — Morgan Rielly

S: James Reimer
Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Mark Fraser, Paul Ranger
Injured: Dave Bolland (ankle), David Clarkson (elbow), Frazer McLaren (shoulder), Trevor Smith (hand)

Projected Avalanche Lineup
Ryan O’Reilly — Matt Duchene — Jamie McGinn
Gabriel Landeskog — Paul Stastny — Nathan MacKinnon
Cody McLeod — John Mitchell — Maxime Talbot
Patrick Bordeleau — Marc-Andre Cliche — PA Parenteau

Erik Johnson — Jan Hejda
Andre Benoit — Ryan Wilson
Nick Holden — Tyson Barrie

S: Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Brad Malone
Injured: Nate Guenin (ankle), Cory Sarich (back), Alex Tanguay (knee, hip), David Van Der Gulik (head)