Happy New Year's, everybody.
Randy Carlyle's favourite top line is back in business for reasons unknown.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
(16-18-34) - (13-17-30) - (17-22-39) (46G, 103PTS TOT)
Daniel Winnik - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul
(1-13-14) - (11-13-24) - (9-8-17) (21G, 55PTS TOT)
Leo Komarov - Peter Holland - Mike Santorelli
(4-12-16) - (8-7-15) - (8-16-24) (20G, 55PTS TOT)
David Booth - Trevor Smith - David Clarkson
(1-1-2) - (0-2-2) - (9-4-13) (10G, 17PTS TOT)
Dion Phaneuf - Cody Franson
(2-17-19) - (5-17-22) (7G, 41PTS TOT)
Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak
(2-7-9) - (4-2-6) (6G, 15PTS TOT)
Morgan Rielly - Stephane Robidas
The Maple Leafs look to stop the bleeding defensively tonight in a meeting of the League's two highest scoring teams.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to be a game time decision with his flu illness. James Reimer will start his second game in as many nights if Bernier still isn't up to it.
Potentially without their starting goalie and haemorrhaging shots against at the moment, more of the same from the Leafs defensively is a very frightening prospect against a team of Tampa's offensive ability. Will the fear of Stamkos knock some sense into the Leafs and force them to tighten up defensively? It...
This will be the third week in a row with a Sunday game for the Maple Leafs, something we should probably get used to as Rogers pushes their new Hometown Hockey Sunday night program (with poor ratings results for non-Leaf games, so far).
In terms of lineup news, Christopher Gibson has been recalled to play backup to James Reimer as Jonathan Bernier is suffering from the flu and can't go.
The Leafs also placed Leo Komarov on the 7-day injured reserve to make space for the Gibson recall, which means Komarov is still a minimum of a week away from...
Two teams that can score but can't defend to save their lives will meet tonight in Texas prior to the NHL Christmas break.
The Leafs are losers of three in a row while the Stars are surging with four straight victories, including a sweep through Western Canada. Dallas tightened up their defensive game versus Vancouver and Calgary, allowing just one goal between the two games, before giving up five to the Oilers and staging a huge comeback to win it in a shootout. They're last in the league in goals-against at 3.38/game.
The Leafs haven't left Dallas with a win in their...
The Maple Leafs take on the Blackhawks in a quick turnaround following an embarrassing defensive effort last night against Philadelphia.
It's the second weekend in a row where the Leafs play Saturday-Sunday, with the second game of the back to back coming against two tough Western opponents/recent Cup champs. The Leafs have dealt with back to backs very well so far this season, going 5-1-1 in the second game, including a 3-2 win over these Blackhawks at the beginning of November.
Indeed, it has been the games where we go in thinking "this is going to be tough" that the Leafs seem to...
The Philadelphia Flyers face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in what will be the last game of a long home stand for Toronto. They have a back-to-back, on the road, against a borderline dynasty—Chicago—tomorrow, starting a heavy road schedule against some very good teams.
The Leafs could use the points in the bank before the gruelling road trip starts, but the easy points have been anything but for this team this season, with a combined 5-7-2 record against below .500 teams.
The state of the Flyers D and goaltending situation (Steve Mason is out hurt) should have the high-scoring Leafs' eyes...
The league's hottest team pays a visit to its coldest tonight in Carolina.
The two teams are riding opposite streaks, the Leafs winners of six straight and the Hurricanes losers of six consecutive.
With Alex Semin, Jiri Tlusty and Jordan Staal out hurt, the Hurricanes lineup looks positively destitute. Their leading scorer is defenceman Justin Faulk with 17 points.
The Leafs, currently scoring for fun; the top line has scored more than the Hurricanes' entire forward lineup combined. A combination of a lack of talent and a series of injuries to the talent the Hurricanes do have has them firmly in the McDavid sweepstakes...
The Ducks and Leafs -- both so hot right now. Something has to give tonight at the ACC.
The Maple Leafs played the Ducks well last season; they were able to put quite a few goals on the board as both of those games turned into contests of traded chances. The Leafs won both games in regulation by a combined score of 7-3.
Defenceman Ben Lovejoy remarked on the speed and skill of the Leafs and their ability to kill opponents in transition:
“They’re so fast, so skilled and we got away from our game and turned pucks over. And they were...
Last night's game ended about an hour ago, so maybe the Leafs will pick up right where they left off.
Considering the Kings didn't play yesterday, you're not expecting much out of this one from the Leafs perspective. Points are a bonus.
The world champions are off to a relatively slow start to the season, something they're familiar with from over the years, due to middling offensive production. Tyler Toffoli is their leading scorer with 23 points and is the only King with more than 20 points on the season. They've been particularly poor on the road, where they're just 4-6-4...
The Maple Leafs look to bounce back after a bad game against the Red Wings, where they were dominated and were lucky to steal a victory.
After being thoroughly outplayed Wednesday vs. Detroit, it will be interesting to see a rested Maple Leaf team play a tired Detroit team, who lost in a shootout vs. Florida last night. There was a fair bit of consternation regarding the Maple Leafs' effort on Wednesday, and while it didn't appear to be from a lack of effort, they were certainly late on most plays, for the balance of the evening—a lot of that having to do...
The Toronto Maple Leafs (6-3-1 in their last 10) are in Detroit to take on the Red Wings (8-2-0). Detroit has been one of the hottest team's in the League since they were defeated by Toronto 4-1 in their last outing.
"A good team, obviously playing well, lots of offensive punch, so we're going to have our hands full. They're good. If you look at the analytics part they're no good, but when you look at coaching and winning games, they're good" - Mike BabcockDetroit is rolling right now and with the return of Pavel Datsyuk, they've added an elite two-way player...
Besides the Brian Burke connection and a few players who have played on both sides of this matchup (Dion Phaneuf, Matt Stajan, Mason Raymond, Joe Colborne who is out hurt), there are some interesting parallels between the Leafs and Flames in the past year.
The Flames, like the Leafs of early last season, are ostensibly a team on the rise, seemingly in the process of turning the corner. And yet there are the analytics folks in the background screaming "hold your horses."
The Calgary Flames are winning games similar to how the Leafs did in the early parts of last season -- sky-high...
A stiff test awaits the Maple Leafs in this all-Canadian matchup on Hockey Night in Canada.
Vancouver is off to a great start (fourth in the League) and their underlying numbers suggest their first-quarter success is far from luck based. The Canucks are 18-7-1 despite ranking 26th in save percentage at five on five as Ryan Miller has run hot and cold for them this season. They're a top 5 team in shot generation and 9th in Fenwick For. Their shooting percentage at 5v5 is middle of the pack, giving them a PDO that ranks 26th in the League. Arguably the Canucks have...
The struggling New Jersey Devils are in Toronto
to take on the warm-getting-warmer Maple Leafs.
“They’re playing with confidence, a lot of speed, a lot of depth. I think they’ve won four or five in a row,” DeBoer noted. “But it wasn’t that long ago that they were sitting where we are, lacking some wins and second-guessing themselves. “I think they’re a good example of how quickly this can turn around once you get it going the other way. - Devils Head Coach, Peter DeBoer”
The key for the Maple Leafs in this game will be avoiding falling into the trap of...
For the disappointing -- relative to off-season hype -- Dallas Stars, the key to victory has been quieting/limiting Seguin, Spezza and Benn. After that, the Stars have been dealing with a pretty big drop off in terms of production up front.
"I think he's a great player," Seguin said of Kessel. "I'm still a bit of a Leafs fan at heart. I grew up watching the Leafs and loving them. Obviously he's their top guy. He's a great player. It's weird how it all worked out, how I could have been there. But I think we've both moved on from that." - Tyler...
In the battle of the middling teams, Washington (10-8-4) is in Toronto to take on a Maple Leaf squad (11-8-3) looking to build on three solid games (2 wins & 1 OT loss).
The Leafs are 5-3-2 in their last 10, while Washington is 6-3-1 in their last ten. Washington is on the second half of a back-to-back, coming off a win against the New York Islanders.
Friend of the site, RMNB, writes in their keys to the game "don't play down to them", which is somewhat misleading; while their underlying numbers have improved, the Capitals still haven't proven to be anything to write home...
The Maple Leafs are in Pittsburgh taking on the hottest team in the league for a true 'measuring stick' game.
Looking at the table below, it's easy to see why the Penguins have reclaimed the position as the elite team in the East. Best record in the league. Check. Best goal differential. Check. Most goals for. Check. Best power play. Check.
They aren't lacking in any one area of the game right now and are piping hot with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games.
The Leafs are the Leafs we've come to know with this core group. Lights...
The Red Wings (10-4-5) are in town to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (10-8-2) in an original six divisional matchup on Hockey Night in Canada.
The Maple Leafs haven't had much luck against the Red Wings in their two meetings so far, a pair of losses including one in overtime. Last time the Wings came to Toronto, Zetterberg tore them apart and they got outshot in the third period 2:1 despite a 4-1 deficit. Jerseys were thrown on the ice, so on and so forth. The Zetterberg, Nyquist and Franzen matchup is an unresolved task going into this game...
Toronto takes on an opponent that surely ranks as one of the last they would want to face off against while trying to regain confidence after consecutive embarrassing blowouts which have called into question everyone from the GM to the coach to the core players of the team.
Indeed, it's probably the last thing the Leafs want to do tonight given the recent skid: Play at home against one of the best teams in the Conference. That's the situation they find themselves in coming off losses to the Sabres and Predators by a combined 15-4 score.
After coughing up six to the offensively-inept...
The Maple Leafs are looking for a bounce-back game after hitting the lowest point of their season so far, a blowout loss to league laughingstock the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
The Predators are one of the early surprises of the 2014-15 season, sitting third in the West with a 11-4-2 record under new head coach Peter Laviolette. It's been a pattern of sorts for Laviolette-coached teams -- in first full seasons in Carolina and Philadelphia, his teams went to the Cup Finals after missing the playoffs the season previous. Without really knowing it to be true, one could forge a narrative...