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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COLORADO AVALANCHE VS. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 8: Tyler Bozak #42 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots the puck as Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche defends the goal during NHL game action October 8, 2013 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

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

 LeafsAvalanche
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)

1400 comments
Bruffins
Bruffins

From a Colorado fan post: "I’ve got to hand it to Tor. It’s like there’s 8 of them out there (or maybe like there are 3 of us)."

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

jonasTSN1050: Cody Franson on van Riemsdyk's redirection abilities: "JVR’s got a no-fly zone. Put it in a certain airspace it’s going down."

Coldincowtown
Coldincowtown

I know most of you are now sleeping and dreaming of a 14 game winning streak.....however, I must say, our boys are starting to look like a young team learning how to win. Not always pretty, but progressing. Crazy talent with some young guys. Proved it against a similar team in Colorado. I like it. I hope it continues.

Bruffins
Bruffins

Just throwing it out there, after every game of this winning streak I have listened to We Cant stop by Miley. You don't all have to thank me now but I think Im at least somewhat responsible for this streak

Black_Hawk
Black_Hawk

kessel could of got 5 goals tonight. too bad he didnt but he is still a tank 

Bruffins
Bruffins

Who was the guy arguing with me a couple weeks ago that the Leafs didn't deserve to listen to music? good times

Bruffins
Bruffins

so now that people have actually watched ROR play who still wants to trade Kadri/Gardiner plus for him??? HAHAHA

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

kinda funny.....I don't think a single Avalanche player finished his check tonight lol 

Cameron19
Cameron19

lol. Perry pulls an NHL 14 and shoots the puck into the net after an offside call - brawl ensues. 

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

Kessel has been more physically engaged the last few games...maybe the rest of the team is going to start to feed off that...hoping

DeclanK
DeclanK moderator

“This is going to be big,” I thought, as two or three raucous Go Leafs Go chants erupted in the build up to midnight at the hotel sports bar in downtown Detroit on New Year’s Eve. 

I didn’t think Leafs Nation’s show of strength in the playoffs the previous Spring - referring here to the events at Maple Leaf Square - was soon to be topped, but seeing droves of Leafs fans descend on Ann Arbor’s Big House to split the record-setting 105,000 representation on hand was damned impressive, even for a fan base known for  its unshakable loyalty.

That number of 105,000, by the way, is something you hear and go “wow” but don’t fully comprehend the logistics of its presence. Same goes for, “you’re going to be spending 6-7 hours in -15 weather.”

Indeed, as this event progresses, every fibre of your physical being is telling you what you’re doing is ill advised. By the third period, I couldn’t feel my toes. The falling snow had dampened my jeans and longjohns, which of course then refroze, so I was now wearing ice pants. We’re crammed in like sardines in our seats, which inexplicably don’t provide any sort of compensating warmth benefit. The path out to the concourse starts with a line at the end of your row. Essentially, you’re lining up in order to go line up some more in the washroom line before doing a little more lining up over in the beer line.

The hockey isn’t great - something to do with the accumulating snow on the ice hindering the players’ ability to see and control the puck, one would think - but the backdrop is perfect, and the fact that our Leaf heroes are out there braving the elements with us makes the whole thing pretty special. The crowd is frozen at times but electric when the right song - Don’t Stop Believing - or a scoring opportunity or goal came along. 

My rational side understood why some patrons were heading for the exits in the middle of overtime, but the fan in you knows you couldn’t live with yourself later if you followed suit. I felt I was a part of Leafs and hockey history, dammit, and I was determined to see it through.

While the Leafs had coughed up yet another lead in the third and looked intent (we have the snow-shovel buzzer to thank for defending that Zetterberg breakaway in OT) on spoiling the ideal outcome, but as it has been the pattern for them this season, the Blue and White salvaged it in the shootout. In an event all about the purity and time-honored traditions of the sport I’d rather it didn’t have its outcome settled in a skills competition event, but it made for good drama in its own right.

At the time it looked like Leafs were stringing some victories together in a modest winning surge. Given how the results have unfolded since, the victory in the Winter Classic may well prove to be the high water mark of the 2013-14 season. If that’s the case, I’m all the more glad I was a part of it.

My buddy Michael aptly summed up the miserable majesty of the event some time during the tense third period: “I’d suffer through something this awesome again.”

It sounds like Leafs fans will get that chance in 2017, only this time much closer to home. I might be thawed out by then, so of course I won’t miss that one either.

--- Alec Brownscombe, Hockey Insider at Shark Club

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

Grabo trying to try a guys eyes out in the game today, got a game misconduct 

Bruffins
Bruffins

Colorado fans saying they wish Duchene could finish like Kessel. Saying Kessel was a hero, great player and put the team on his back when it mattered. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

If you were Oilers management, which forward core would you prefer?

-

Taylor Hall

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov

David Perron

Sam Gagner

Boyd Gordon

-

Or

-

Tyler Seguin

Gabriel Landeskog

Jordan Eberle

Alex Galchenyuk

David Perron

Sam Gagner

Andrew Cogliano

Boyd Gordon


Marlies Man
Marlies Man

@wiski We're still paying Willy, aren't we? We should have him come back to address the media after games just to piss the media off.

Denied
Denied

@Black_Hawk 2 goals tonight and 14 points in the last 7 will have to do ;)

Denied
Denied

@Jmessih  Thats going to be a hell of a game on Saturday with two teams rolling

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@wiski suck it up buttercup . You have 7 more yrs of this yet lol

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

@Gozo It's a credit to him the team hasn't quit on him. I also like how he's handling the D core now. But there's still enough troubling signs that I'm not confident to say the team is necessarily "well coached." I just believe the talent level on this team is high and it should be enough for a comfortable playoff position. 

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Burtonboy @wiski 

he will probably resign after the 7 years are up just to make things even more miserable for Wiski

Black_Hawk
Black_Hawk

@Alec Brownscombe @Gozo RC also could be changing his ways which is evident by the cancellation of the checking line he was trying to create. RC probably taking some advice from others now. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Jmessih @Cameron19 I'm thinking they'd have an easier time with Seguin/Galchenyuk/Gagner down the middle with Landeskog subbing in for Hall, than they do with their current group. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Jmessih @Cameron19 lol, Well, I wasn't. Anyways, yea, the point was just that it would be easier to build around that group.