Predators at Leafs: Belak's Coming Home

7PM ET: SNET-O

Jean-Sebastien Giguere (11GP, 0.899SV%) vs. Pekka Rinne (10GP, 0.910SV%).

Like the Leafs the Predators are mired in a slump. Checking NHL.com for the TV information I saw this:

It's been seven games and counting since Nashville last won in regulation. - NHL.com

Nashville actually looks very similar to the Leafs. Check this out:

GF/G GA/G
NSH 2.40 2.87
TOR 2.19 2.81

We score 0.21 fewer goals per game but allow .06 fewer per game. Giving up fewer goals per game than the Predators speaks well to our defense and goaltending's job keeping pucks out of the net so far. Being outscored by one goal every five games by Nashville says a lot about how little the Leafs are putting the puck in the net.

Oddly enough on a per game basis Nashville allows about 4 shots more than it takes. The Leafs take about half a shot more than they allow.

Leafs Captain Dion Phaneuf and new winger Colby Armstrong will be in the locker room tonight. Ron Wilson claims it's not the same place without them. Personally I think this is a move to distract attention away from a losing team but maybe that's what they need inside the locker room; something weird, a change from the routine.

Speaking of Phaneuf:

Ron Wilson says Dion Phaneuf is walking right now with a slight limp. They're hopeful he'll be back on the ice next week. Staples removed. - Jonas Siegel

The Leafs made all the moves they could bringing up Nazem Kadri for Saturday's Canucks game and so far the move looks ok. Kadri made some slick passes and if he can get a secondary scoring line going with Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin it would go a long way to busting this slump.

The Phil Kessel, Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski line moved the puck well and the power play in the Vancouver game saw Kessel not standing on the half boards like a stooge; a move that paid off early. If we accept that this Leafs team needs to significantly outwork their opponents then Saturday could end up being the game that turned the tide.

On the other hand if the Leafs come out flat tonight, a Tuesday night game against a small market opponent, things could get even uglier in Toronto.

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