The Toronto Maple Leafs have become a team of inconsistency. In their quest to finish higher than last season, Toronto has rushed into certain games with speed and tenacity, while in others they have dwindled and failed to produce a single point. Over the last four weeks, the latter seems to have become the new identity of the team. Recently, the only true star the team possesses is one Jonas Gustavsson, but when the Tampa Bay Lightning and Steven Stamkos stroll into town for their second meeting of the season, the Leafs will have to be better than good.
It will be an unbelievable challenge,â€ Schenn said. â€œSince the start of the season and probably since the Olympic break last year, he has probably been the hottest player in the league. He gets to his spots and scores goals just about every night. Weâ€™ll have to be good as a five-man unit. Not one guy is going to shut him down in particular, it will have to be everyone chipping in.â€
Scoring has been the major concern for the club this season, and will be the story for the team once again tonight. Stamkos has averaged nearly two points per game, and with the Leafs lacking the ability to get their names on the score sheet, they’ll have to score at least three goals to earn a victory tonight. I would expect it to be a goaltenders duel once again, but, as with any other game, if the Leafs want any chance at all to win, they need to bury the puck.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, their fan base is growing restless with the mixture of the Leafs currently sitting near the bottom of the league’s standings, as well as their lack of draft picks. If they want to turn things around for the obvious hole that they are currently digging, wins are an absolute must.
Toronto does not have any players who are on a hot streak.
Who’s Hot? Tampa Bay:
Steven Stamkos (C) 19 pts in last 12 GP
Teddy Purcell (RW/LW) 8 pts in last 6 GP
Ryan Malone (LW/RW) 4 pts in last 3 GP
Steve Downie (RW) 4 pts in last 4 GP
Who’s Cold? Toronto:
Francois Beauchemin (D) 0 pts in last 6 GP
Tomas Kaberle (D) 0 pts in last 4 GP
Phil Kessel (RW) 1 pts in last 4 GP
Jonas Gustavsson (G) 0-2-0, 3.05, .893 in last 2 GPI
Who’s Cold? Tampa Bay:
Mattias Ohlund (D) 0 pts in last 10 GP
Pavel Kubina (D) 0 pts in last 4 GP
Dominic Moore (C/LW) 0 pts in last 3 GP
Mike Smith (G) 1-1-0, 4.72, .816 in last 2 GPI
Dan Ellis (G) 0-0-1, 4.84, .812 in last 3 GPI
I will be liveblogging tonight’s game on The Checking Line. The action gets underway at 6:45 PM EST.