The Toronto Maple Leafs have played five home games on a Tuesday night against a Southeast division opponent and are 1-3-1. Tuesday night games against Atlanta, Tampa, Florida and Carolina are usually soul crushing affairs where it looks like no one told the Leafs they had a game to play and the crowd is completely silent.
Is there hope for tonight? The Leafs are on a hot streak going 9-3-1 in their last 13 games. @NHL on Twitter posted stats today showing the leaders in goals, GAA and winning percentage since the trade deadline. Phil Kessel is fourth in goals scored since the deadline (that lousy rat fink Lee Stempniak is first). Jonas Gustavsson is second in GAA behind only Pekka Rinne and on the backs of their strong play the Leafs are behind only Detroit, Phoenix and Nashville in terms of points earned per game making them the best in the East this month.
Ex-Leaf Nik Antropov will venture to the ACC tonight. He's played three games against his old club, has no points and is a -1. He'd be a good pick in SPG for everything if there's a Thrashers version of it.
Jonas Gustavsson is in net going for eight straight wins. Over his current seven game win streak he has a 1.93 GAA and a .929 SV% and he's raised his save percentage on the entire year up to 0.904%. Personally before the year started I thought that if we got 0.910 goaltending out of Gustavsson as a starter he'd be a smashing success and if he can finish this season with three or four more strong outings he'll be darned close.
Atlanta sits two points behind the Bruins in 9th place in the East but despite dropping a stinker last night to Carolina they lost no ground as Boston lost to Buffalo. Speaking of the Bruins their fans have to root for Toronto to win and move closer to that third overall pick or they have to root for Atlanta who will tie them in points with a win. Personally I think we should all cheer for Boston's playoff spot to remain secure but a win in extra time is really the funniest scenario.
Ondrej Pavelec gets the nod for Atlanta and contrary to popular belief Brayden Irwin will not be dressing tonight. Expect to see our new free agent on Saturday at the earliest. Remember those SPG picks and go Leafs go.