TORONTO CANADA - DECEMBER 30: Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets blocks a shot by Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game on December 30 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Canada. The Blue Jackets defeated the Leafs 3-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
What: Game #13 of the regular season.
When: 7 PM, November 3rd, 2011.
Where: In Columbus. SportsNet Ontario and Fox Sports Ohio have the game on TV.
Tonight the Leafs go into their second game of this mid-week back-to-back against the troubled Blue Jackets. The BJs have just 5 points in 12 games, and there have been whispers of replacing the coach, the management, and pretty much anyone they can sacrifice to buy a little more time from the fans. Their last game was a 3-1 win over Anaheim, and you have to think Columbus will be playing with a bit of desperation tonight.
I think the Jackets are better than their record indicates. Missing their number one defenseman in James Wisniewski for 8 games as a result of this hit, plus losing Jeff Carter to a hairline fracture in his foot, has really hurt the team. Carter stays out (and is questionable for their game this weekend), but the Wiz is back, and is eating up ice time - he's averaged 28:21 in his last four games.
Steve Mason is still afflicted with Andrew Raycroft Disease, and has an .889 over 11 GP this season. His two wins on the season came over Anaheim, where he made 19 of 20 saves, and Detroit, where he stopped 30 of 31. Those and an OTL against Colorado make up his only performances above .905. Mason hasn't been confirmed to get the start tonight, but Dekanich is still out with injury, and their backup is Allen York (hockeydb). Goaltending is a long shot to make the difference in this game.
As you know from reading last night's recap, Wilson leaned on his bottom six last night, giving the third and fourth line 15 and 10 minutes respectively, which should leave the MGK and LCK lines pretty fresh for tonight's game. Schenn is expected to play, and per Jonas Siegel, hasn't lost confidence in himself. It hasn't been confirmed, but based on some discussion about Reimer's status, Gustavsson is likely to get the start. While I think Jonas earned another start last night, it's a little worrying that Reimer hasn't come off IR yet. I'm loathe to play Dr. Recchi's role, but at this point is there even a chance that Reimer didn't/doesn't have a concussion?
It's November and the Leafs are playing in Columbus. Feel free to cross the memes.