Toronto Maple Leafs (25-20-5, 55 points) at Phoenix Coyotes (23-16-9, 55 points)
The Leafs are seeking their first five-game winning streak since the 2006-07 season tonight in Phoenix.
The Leafs took a shootout win out of a low scoring 1-1 game in the first of two season meetings on December 19 in Toronto. Both were dirty goals, one from Troy Bodie in the first period and the other from Martin Hanzal late to tie the game. Hanzal is out for tonight’s game.
The Leafs’ top line was buzzing but could not score; Phil Kessel in particular, who could have had a hat trick as the Leafs worked the airmail play while Kessel cherrypicked at the opposition blueline three or four times throughout the game. Kessel enters this game on a five-game points streak, with three goals, seven assists and 10 points over that span.
Phoenix is more of an offensive outfit than in season’s past, sitting top 10 in goals per game, despite their top scorer being Radim Vrbata with 35 points. It’s by-committee offense, and a chunk of it comes from the D core, which is one of the most offensively productive in the League with Ekman Larsson and Keith Yandle leading the way.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to start for the Leafs. He’s posted a .929 save percentage while winning his last three starts, and is 2-0 lifetime vs. Phoenix.
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Nik Kulemin – Nazem Kadri – Joffrey Lupul
Mason Raymond – Peter Holland – Troy Bodie
Carter Ashton – Jay McClement – Colton Orr
Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf
Tim Gleason – Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner – Morgan Rielly
Phoenix Coyotes Lineup
Tim Kennedy –
Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Shane Doan – Mike Ribeiro – David Moss
Lauri Korpikoski – Antoine Vermette – Mikkel Boedker
Kyle Chipchura – Jeff Halpern – Jordan Szwarz
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Michael Stone – Keith Yandle
Derek Morris – David Schlemko