Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Preview: Big Week Starts Tonight

Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Preview: Big Week Starts Tonight

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NHLI via Getty Images

What a string of hugely important games for the Maple Leafs  this week, starting tonight in Detroit. The Leafs will play the Lightning and Canadiens in their next two games, who are tied for 2nd in the Atlantic Division at one point ahead of Toronto. A good week here puts the Leafs in position to take sole possession of second in the Atlantic; a bad week puts the Leafs’ current wildcard spot in jeopardy. *Dun dun dun*

The Red Wings lineup has a strong Grand Rapids flavour to it as it has all season with the injuries Detroit has experienced. No Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Weiss, Helm, Anderson, Cleary, Jurco, Samulesson or Gustavsson. Bertuzzi is questionable. Unsurprisingly, the Red Wings are second in the League with 333 man games lost to injury this season. (For those curious, the Leafs are 14th in the League with 206 man-games lost).

The glut of Wings’ injuries have been at forward, as their defence core is fully healthy at the moment. That’s probably of little consolation to Babcock, who has been trotting out this lineup of late:

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 2
Photo: Daily Faceoff

James Reimer is expected to start in net for the Leafs. He’s only played the Red Wings twice in his career, both losses. Most recently (just before Christmas), he was pulled after the first period against Detroit after letting in three goals on twelve shots. He wasn’t happy about it, but pucks were definitely going “through” him in the opening 20 and the Leafs did manage to salvage a point afterward.

Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings (1-1-1 all time vs. the Leafs).

The Maple Leafs could opt to dress Peter Holland, as he was healthy and available to them on Sunday but Carlyle opted to move McClement onto line three to start the game (there was a tonne of shuffling once the Leafs went down 3-0). Between the 7D set up and Carter Ashton playing 2 minutes, the Leafs had five forwards play over 20 minutes on Sunday. Is that something Carlyle should be replicating throughout this flurry of games down the stretch?

The Red Wings trail the Leafs by seven points but hold two games in hand going into tonight. The season series sits at 1 shootout win to 1 shootout loss for both teams.

TeamGPRECORDHOMEROADL10G/GGA/GPP%PK%PIM/GS/GSA/GFO%
Toronto6936-25-822-11-114-14-75-3-22.81320.778.413.127.736.348.3
Detroit6730-24-1313-11-917-13-44-5-12.542.6917.484.18.930.129.650.9
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]
171 comments
Optimustic
Optimustic

5 - 4 Leafs in regulation.   Get'r done.

Yaknowwhat
Yaknowwhat

Sportsnet debating the coaching of Therrien in Montreal vs Roy in Colorado....uhhh.....look at the team rosters guys...

Yaknowwhat
Yaknowwhat

Christie Simpson...lights on or lights off? Or lights off and 24 beers? Lol

Yaknowwhat
Yaknowwhat

Any word on the severity of Berniers injury?

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

lol nitpicking top lines production despite it being one of the most dominant lines in hockey over the last 3+ months 

Yaknowwhat
Yaknowwhat

Back from Orlando...and back to reality....cold temps and back to work tomorrow...ughhh..

Go Leafs Go! Put the dead things out of their misery...

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Belfour20  

I told you guys he was way over rated, jeez some guys on here wanted him over Carlyle.lol!

Yaknowwhat
Yaknowwhat

Yeh, but he walked into a bit of mess there.....team lacks maturity and leadership...among other things...

whalz
whalz

stiflers moms sister...........id tap that

ingy56
ingy56

@Yaknowwhat  Lights on for me, she's "mature" but still hot...and she can talk hockey..now that's sexy!

ingy56
ingy56

@Yaknowwhat  He's not on IR yet, so that has to be good. Just heard it was a mild groin strain. 

Yaknowwhat
Yaknowwhat

Sometimes I think these guys just agree to have a disagreement on camera....seems almost scripted to me...

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@Murph2417 Cordon Bleu ,thats french , wtf  u cant eat that  ,not this close to the playoffs imho

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Murph2417  Sounds good, Murph....homemade Beef Stew and Garlic Herb Bread here....GO LEAFS GO!!

DJGLENN22
DJGLENN22

@Belfour20 @Yaknowwhat Price did not wanna play on the west coast against those tough teams......Sharks,Ducks,Kings......then Bruins.........they did beat the Ducks but lost the rest.........lol so he did not wanna tarnish his gold medal play.

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@wendelsway1 @Murph2417 Hot franks sauce  and garlic on drum sticks and another batch of chilie con carnie for at least another 2 weeks ,makes a better fart eh ,after every goal is what I do lmao