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Game Preview: Maple Leafs see the return of Tyler Bozak and the Blues

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Forever young. I want to be forever young.

St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Gety Images

St. Louis Blues vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #8
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Location: That big box at the east end of Bremner Blvd.
Broadcast/Streaming: Hockey Night in Canada
Opponent SBNation Site: St. Louis Gametime

The Maple Leafs play the Blues tonight after a deep cut 3-0 loss against the Penguins on Thursday night. That game may have been one of those that wasn’t as bad as it looks, with our own reviewers saying the Leafs did OK, but had some bad luck. Even with that loss, the Leafs don’t have much to complain about. They sit with five wins in seven games to start the season, which is a great record and puts them first in their division.

The Blues certainly can’t say they have found the same success.

They are rolling into Toronto tonight with a record of 1-3-2, giving them only 4 points in the season. That’s tied as the second worst record in the league to date. They are bested at losing only by the Red Wings who have played seven games so far and won precisely zero. Yikes.

It may turn out we are all wrong in our 2018-19 season predictions post and the Blues’ Mike Yeo will be the first coach fired this season. I could see that happening as soon as tonight if they are blown out by the buds.

Maple Leafs

From yesterday’s morning skate (not confirmed final for tonight’s game)

Forward Lines

Patrick Marleau - Auston Matthews - Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Par Lindholm - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown
Andreas Johnsson - Frederik Gauthier - Josh Leivo

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Igor Ozhiganov

(healthy scratches: Justin Holl, Martin Marincin)

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen (starting)
Garret Sparks

Blues

Updated to the lines from morning skate

Forward Lines

Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko
Zach Sanford - Ryan O’Reilly - David Perron
Alexander Steen - Tyler Bozak - Patrick Maroon
Jordan Kyrou - Ivan Barbashev - Sammy Blais

Defence Pairings

Vince Dunn - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo
Colton Parayko - Jordan Schmaltz

Goaltenders

Jake Allen (to be confirmed as starter)
Chad Johnson

(on conditioning loan: Nikita Soshnikov)

The Game

Tonight’s game features the return of Leafs Legend Tyler Bozak. He was the longest tenured player on the Maple Leafs when he departed in free agency this summer, playing over nine seasons with the team. Ron Wilson was the Leafs coach in the game where he scored his first NHL goal. It was quite a spectacle.

That’s Ole-Kristian Tolefson wearing 55 getting undressed by Bozak there. He returned to the SHL for the rest of his career after the end of that season and played for MODO with goalie Mikael Tellqvist. Remember him?

So as mentioned above, the Blues have managed to win only one game so far this season. Are they really that bad, or have they simply had an unlucky start to the season? I’ll let you decide.

According to Natural Stat Trick the Blues high-danger five-on-five sv% this season is a shockingly low 0.725; the worst in the league (they are even lower at all-situations sv%). Goalies Jake Allen and backup Chad Johnson don’t seem to be able to handle attackers coming in close. The Blues are not being helped by their offence who have a low shooting% at five-on-five this season of only 5.07%. Compare that to the Leafs who are at 9.80%.

The Blues are still not worst in the league for that stat by the way. That honour belongs to the Coyotes who have a sh% of only 1.78%! I don’t even understand how that’s possible. They basically can’t score unless they are on a power play.

In any case, we can expect a tribute to the legendarily ever-youthful man during the game for his 594 games in the blue and white, where he scored 136 goals and 229 assists.

He will forever be Young Tyler Bozak to us.

Also on tap today:

Furies @ Blades
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST
Marlies vs. Wolf Pack
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST
Thunder @ Canadiennes
Time: 6:00 p.m. EST

I’ll be at the Marlies vs. Wolf Pack game today. See you there!

GO LEAFS GO!