Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | Arena: Scottrade Center | TV: HNIC | Radio: Fan 590
Game Day Quotes
Mike Babcock on the challenge presented by St. Louis:
I don’t know the Blues as good as I used to. We used to play them 100 times a year and it was lots of fun. This team here, to me… I’ve been hearing about Schwartz for years from the guys here and how good he is. Now, when I do the prescout, I see how good he is. Everyone talks about Tarasenko, who is an unbelievable player, but Schwartz has taken it to another level.
The Stastny line, which matches up, is really good offensively as well. I call it a big three on the backend. I think the three guys there are elite and the goalie is playing as good as he has in a long time. Now, how much does that have to do with the people in front of him and the opportunities [the other team] is getting? I don’t know, but they’ve got a real good hockey team with lots of swagger and they’re playing well.
St. Louis Blues head coach Mike Yeo on the Leafs:
You look at Matthews, some of the young players they have there, their surrounding players, it’s speed and skill. They play a very fast-paced game. With Babcock, they’re always going to be well-structured and well-coached. They’re a team I believe has a real knack for dialling up the tempo and the pace of the game. Their transition game is as good as anybody’s, so it will be a real fun test.
Babcock on the need for a better start vs. the Blues:
The big thing here is we’ve got to be prepared at the start of the game. We had lots of great effort in the final 50 minutes of last game, but when you’re getting outchanced 5-0 after five minutes in a game, you weren’t prepared. That’s on me and that’s on our players. We weren’t prepared for the start of the game. We knew we were playing a good team, and in the end, it didn’t go our way.
Babcock on the change in Kasperi Kapanen from last year:
I just saw the other day that he said, “I’m getting to play with a guy I really respect in Leo.” In the pictures, I noticed the guy standing and he had legs like a coach. Now, when you look at him, he’s a big, heavy guy. He’s got heavy legs. Last game, he got pinched off by Doughty, squeezed out of the corner and came out to the net front. He’s heavy enough to play in the league. We often say a guy is light. We don’t mean he doesn’t weigh anything. We mean he’s not strong enough to handle the physical going and win the one-on-one battles. Kappy had great speed but he was light. Now, it looks like he’s ready for the next level.
In those one-on-one battles, when they seal you off… in the D zone, the other team wants to get you stopped and they want to break out fast. If you’re heavy on the puck and you can keep it going, the more time you spend in there, the more chance there is for breakdowns and offensive opportunity. When you’re heavier, or you play heavier, you have a better chance of sustaining offense.
Babcock on the Matthews and Nylander line’s matchup for tonight:
They played against Kopitar the other night and Doughty. Tonight, they are going to play against Stastny and Pietrangelo. Now, I could hide them and play them no minutes, but to me, what good players do on championship teams is they outplay the other guys. That’s what has to happen. That’s their job tonight.
Leo Komarov on his mentorship of Kasperi Kapanen:
I just try to be a nice guy to him. I’ve known him for a long time already. He’s from Finland, too. It’s a small country and we help out each other.
Kapanen on his improvements over the offseason:
You want to get bigger and stronger but you don’t want to get any slower. That’s my best asset — my skating. I feel like I’m faster than last year. I feel good.
You’ve got to lift weights, obviously, and get a little muscle there. At the same time, you do sprints and a lot of explosive stuff so you don’t turn into one of those guys that has a powerful stride but it takes them a while to get going. I guess I am more of a guy who sees an opportunity to go get a puck and I’m more explosive.
Carl Gunnarsson on his former team:
They’ve changed a ton since I was there. We know they’ve got a speedy team, a lot of guys that try to outplay you one on one. That’s something we’ll look at, and get to our game plan a little bit more. They’re obviously better than their last couple of years.
|GF/g||3.79 (2nd)||3.07 (15th)|
|GA/g||3.50 (26th)||2.29 (2nd)|
|PP%||25% (6th)||15.6% (22nd)|
|PK%||81.3% (14th)||77.5% (25th)|
|Shots/g||32.5 (10th)||32.8 (9th)|
|Shots Against/g||32.7 (21st)||31.4 (11th)|
|5v5 CF%||52.16% (6th)||50.48% (13th)|
|5v5 SV%||.901 (27th)||.948 (1st)|
|5v5 SH%||10.8% (1st)||8.5% (14th)|
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup
Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
Komarov – Kadri – Kapanen
JVR – Marleau – Brown
Martin – Bozak – Marner
Rielly – Hainsey
Gardiner – Carrick
Borgman – Zaitsev
Scratched: Moore, Leivo, Polak
St. Louis Blues Projected Lineup
Schwartz – Schenn – Tarasenko
Sobotka – Stastny – Steen
Jaskin – Sundqvist – Paajarvi
Upshall – Brodziak – Thorburn
Gunnarsson – Pietrangelo
Edmunson – Parayko
Dunn – Bortuzzo
Injured: Fabbri, Berglund, Bouwmeester