Toronto Maple Leafs (10-9-4, 22nd in NHL) vs. Vancouver Canucks (10-12-2, 28th in NHL)
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST
Arena: Rogers Arena
Game Day Notes
– A quick refresher course on the events of the last meeting between the Leafs and Canucks on November 5th:
- With the game winding its way towards a decisive Leaf victory in the third period, Morgan Rielly caught Jannik Hansen with a big, clean hit in open ice just outside the offensive blue line six minutes into the third period.
- Seconds later, Nazem Kadri caught Daniel Sedin with a blindside hit (awarded a charging penalty and a game misconduct but not ruled suspension-worthy upon review) just as he released a shot and scored in the offensive zone. Kadri looked remorseful in the immediate aftermath of the hit before getting mauled by Hansen — who was assessed with an instigator penalty — drawing a big scrum between the teams.
- Derek Dorsett fought Leo Komarov in retaliation five minutes later having already turned down an invitation to fight from Matt Martin earlier in the game. Komarov didn’t appear to want much to do with the fight. Martin beaked Dorsett from the bench about picking his spots and fighting a non-fighter, sending Dorsett into hysterics. The refs had to wrestle Dorsett off the ice surface, with Dorsett acting as though he was about to rush the Leaf bench.
- Alex Burrows retaliated against Morgan Rielly for his hit on Hansen by spearing him behind the play, undetected by the referees. Rielly and Burrows started jawing on a subsequent faceoff. Burrows chased down Rielly and the two briefly wrestled in the neutral zone. Burrows was assessed an instigator penalty.
- Three minutes later, Martin retaliated for the Dorsett fight by scrapping rookie defenceman Troy Stetcher behind the Vancouver net, drawing Ryan Miller into the fray. Miller later told the media that he wasn’t confident in Stetcher’s ability to defend himself against a fighter like Martin and therefore felt he needed to intervene.
In the ensuing scrum, Frederik Andersen left his net and charged to the other end to lock up with Miller, although they ended up chatting instead of fighting. Both goalies were ejected from the game.
- After the game, Erik Gudbrandsson screamed in the hallway outside the visitors dressing room that Matt Martin was going to die in the teams’ next meeting. Direction of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued a warning to Canucks GM Jim Benning about the threat.
League officials have met with both teams in an attempt to keep tonight’s game under control. Gudbrandsson since clarified in the media that his post-game death threat was regrettable and not to be taken literally. In the media, both teams talked about two points as the best method for revenge. Only time will tell if the game goes sideways, if it all proves to be a wet firecracker, or if we see something in between.
– The Canucks are 6-5-1 since the teams’ first meeting a month ago. After scoring 16 goals in their first 11 games, the Canucks have scored 37 over their last 13. Their special teams have been excellent of late; the Canucks powerplay has been converting at 22.6% (fifth in the NHL over that span) since the loss to the Leafs on November 5th; prior to, their powerplay was dead last in the league at 8.6%. The Canucks’ penalty kill is running at 85.9% (4th in the NHL) this season.
– Bo Horvat has led the way for the Canucks offensively in the last month with 12 points in his last 12, while offseason signing Lou Eriksson broke out of his miserable slump to start the season with six goals in his last dozen. After starting the season with 0 points in his first nine games, Alex Burrows has found some chemistry on a line with Horvat and Sven Baertschi, producing nine points in his last 12. Baertschi has eight points in his last 10.
– Head coach Mike Babcock has indicated that there is a chance Martin Marincin could enter the fold on defence, but that Frank Corrado will remain in the press box in his return to Vancouver. Marincin last played versus New Jersey on November 23.
– Goaltender Antoine Bibeau has been recalled on an emergency basis by the Leafs. Frederik Andersen is expected to start but has been nursing an illness.
Statistics courtesy of SportingCharts.com
|Home Winning %||0.727||0.542|
|Away Winning %||0.333||0.25|
|Shootout Winning %||0||0.667|
|Goal Differential Per Game||-0.09||-0.79|
|Shot Differential Per Game||-0.7||0.13|
|Hits Per Game||25.4||19.5|
|PIM Per Game||11.4||10.5|
|Opponent PIM Per Game||12.5||10.3|
|Goals Per Game||3.04||2.21|
|Even Strength Goals Per Game||2.43||1.71|
|Power Play Goals Per Game||0.57||0.42|
|Shots Per Game||32.3||29.6|
|Shots Per Goal||10.6||13.4|
|Team Shooting %||0.094||0.075|
|Power Play %||0.191||0.143|
|Goals Against Per Game||3.13||3|
|ES Goals Against Per Game||2.57||2.58|
|PP Goals Against Per Game||0.48||0.38|
|Shots Against Per Game||32.96||29.46|
|Shots Against Per Goal||10.53||9.82|
|Opp. Team Shooting %||0.095||0.102|
|Penalty Kill %||0.849||0.859|
|Goals Against Average||3.1||2.95|
|Opponent Save %||0.906||0.925|
|Opponent Goals Against Average||3.02||2.17|
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Nikita Soshnikov
van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – Connor Brown
Matt Martin – William Nylander – Ben Smith
Morgan Rielly – Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner – Martin Marincin
Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak
Starter:Frederik Andersen (Expected)
Backup: Jhonas Enroth
Scratched: Antoine Bibeau, Peter Holland, Frank Corrado, Connor Carrick
Vancouver Canucks Projected Lines
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Brandon Sutter
Markus Granlund – Michael Chaput – Loui Eriksson
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Alexandre Burrows
Jack Skille – Brendan Gaunce – Jayson Megna
Luca Sbisa – Troy Stecher
Ben Hutton – Erik Gudbranson
Nikita Tryamkin – Philip Larsen
Starter: Ryan Miller
Backup: Jacob Markstrom