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Game Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs visit Randy Carlyle and the Anaheim Ducks

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With a special appearance by Francois Beauchemin.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After a sad late loss to the San Jose Sharks on Monday, the Toronto Maple Leafs head down the coast and inland a bit to Orange “Don’t call it the OC” County and after riding the Matterhorn and getting one of those mouse ears ice creams, they’ll head down to the Honda Centre to take on the Anaheim Ducks.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Anaheim Ducks
10:00PM - Honda Centre
TV: Sportsnet Ontario, Fox Sports West
TV: Sportsnet One (thanks World Series)
Radio: TSN 1050 / Sportsnet590
SBN: Anaheim Calling

While out in California, coach Mike Babcock was making some drastic changes to the lines, as documented by Kevin yesterday. If they hold up we’ll be seeing some more depth across all the lines, which will help in this game because of how shallow the Ducks are at forward. Before we talk too much about them, let’s give the lines a look:

Toronto Maple Leafs lines
(from yesterdays practice)

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Josh Leivo
James van Riemsdyk -Patrick Marleau - Connor Brown
Matt Martin - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Andreas Borgman - Nikita Zaitsev

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

Anaheim Ducks lines
(via Daily Faceoff)

Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Jakob Silfverberg
Ondrej Kase - Antoine Vermette - Corey Perry
Chris Wagner - Derek Grant - Nick Ritchie
Dennis Rasmussen - Kalle Kossila - Logan Shaw

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson
Francois Beauchemin - Brandon Montour
Jaycob Megna - Sami Vatanen

John Gibson
Ryan Miller

So, spreading the offensive players around the line up, with the top line remaining as is, can be a good way to combat the Ducks line up. If you have Marner and Bozak on the fourth line line up opposite Kossila and Shaw, the odds should be in your team’s favour.

The defensive changes shown by the Maple Leafs, slotting Carrick with Gardiner and dropping Zaistsev down to Borgman, should also give people less worry about the back end of the game, now that there isn’t a single pair of iffy defenders on one line together.

For goal tending tonight, we don’t know for sure who’s in, but with it being a back to back you’d hope that Babcock would play Andersen against whichever team he sees as stronger and let McElhinney play the other game.

Recently...

The most recent games for the Ducks have gone in their favour, taking down a much better team in the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1, and then beating the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout. The wins help make up for the 8-3 pounding they too at the hands of the Florida Panthers.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won only one game of their past five, losing to the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, and San Jose Sharks while beating only the Los Angeles Kings, whom they play again tomorrow night.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers for these teams ahead of the game.

Numbers Preview

Maple Leafs Team Devils
Maple Leafs Team Devils
265GF - 226GA - +29 Goal Differential 238GF - 234GA - +4
24.4% - 2nd overall Power Play 21.7 - 10th overall
81.3% - 12th overall Penalty Kill 81.9% - 7th overall
James van Riemsdyk - 36 Most Goals Taylor Hall - 39
Mitch Marner - 47 Most Assists Taylor Hall - 54
Mitch Marner - 69 Most Points Taylor Hall - 93
Matt Martin - 50 Most PM Miles Wood - 84
Jake Gardiner - 22:33/G TOI Leader Sami Vatanen - 22:42
Frederik Andersen - .917sv% Starting Goalie Keith Kincaid - .911sv%

Tonight the Maple Leafs look to end their three game losing streak, and end the ‘California road trips are terrible’ thoughts.

Or, we’ll have more fodder for arguments tomorrow morning. Let’s find out.