clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Game Preview: Maple Leafs head south as first place is in reach

New, comments

All that stands in our way is a loser point.

Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs at Carolina Hurricanes

Time: 7:00PM

Location: PNC Arena, Charlotte, NC

Broadcast/Streaming: SN Ontario, Fox Sports Carolina, NHL Live

Opponent SBNation Site: Canes Country

With four wins in a row and winning seven of their last ten, the Maple Leafs are in a tight battle for first overall in the NHL, with just one loser point separating them from the Nashville Predators.

If we keep scrolling down to the midway point of the standings we come to the Hurricanes in 18th, still waiting for win number 10 and sporting a “Bettman 0.500” record of 9-8-3. The Hurricanes aren’t doing too badly lately themselves, with wins against the Devils, Blue Jackets, and Blackhawks (twice) in November. These games are much closer than the Leafs wins though, with most of them finishing with a one goal difference or in extra time.

Looking over at Canes Country, their weekly preview has nothing but praise and fear of the Maple Leafs:

While the offensive production has been a constant over the past few seasons as the Leafs have built a dynamic young core of blazing-fast and highly skilled forwards, the biggest improvement this season, which continued a trend from last year, is the continued development of the all-around defensive game. Morgan Rielly has emerged as one of the elite defensemen in the Eastern Conference, and his defensive presence has been backed up by an equally impressive offensive start (nine goals, 16 assists). Jake Gardiner has continued to play like a top-four defenseman, and emerging players such as Nikita Zaitsev and Travis Dermott have been guided along well. The veteran experience of former Hurricane Ron Hainsey has appeared to have had a good impact on the entire blueline.

Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

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

Will we have a surprise William Nylander in tonight's game? It could happen. The lines haven’t changed much over the past few games, and unless the unlikely return of Nylander happens I don’t expect them to change much here.

Defence Pairings

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

Member Justin Holl? He’s still around. I don’t think Mike Babcock does though. But hey, why mess with success?

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

Did you know that Frederik Andersen is a former Hurricane? They drafted him in the 7th round in 2010 but he didn’t sign, so he went back into the 2012 draft and was picked up in the third round by the Ducks.

Carolina Hurricanes

Forward Lines

Brock McGinn - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Micheal Ferland - Sebastian Aho- Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Warren Foegele - Clark Bishop - Phillip Di Giuseppe

This is a team where the second line is actually the first line. The majority of the points scored by the Hurricanes come from the Ferland-Aho-Teravainen line. Combined they have 53 points, and everyone else on the team has 77.

Word is Victor Rask, who hurt himself in a kitchen accident, will make his season debut, so he’ll slot in there for someone.

Defence Pairings

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk
Haydn Fleury - Trevor van Riemsdyk

The much lauded Hurricanes defence will be put to the test tonight. Perhaps the Maple Leafs will beat the Hurricanes so badly they knee jerk react to needing more firepower and we can get Dougie for Kapanen.

Goaltenders

Scott Darling
Curtis McElhinney

Hey, it’s Curtis! There’s always one former Leafs on the roster of whatever team we want to beat and McBackup is the one in Carolina.


Leafs vs Bruins

Maple Leafs Team Bruins
Maple Leafs Team Bruins
20-8-0-1 Record 14-10-0-4
106GF - 78GA - +28 Goal Differential 72GF - 72GA
26.7% - 6th Power Play 27% - 4th
80.3% - 15th Penalty Kill 77% - 24th
John Tavares - 18 Most Goals David Pastrnak - 20
Mitch Marner - 34 Most Assists Krejci / Marchand / Bergeron - 17
Mitch Marner - 40 Most Points David Pastrnak - 32
Hyman / Kadri - 16 Most PM Brad Marchand - 72
Morgan Rielly - 22:18/G TOI Leader Torey Krug - 22:35
Frederik Andersen - .931sv% Starting Goalie Jaroslav Halak - .932sv%

Alright, well, draw some penalties Leafs and let that PP fly! Two points is all they need to get above the Predators for first. Let’s win tonight and take our rightful spot on top of the league.

There are five games left in November for the Maple Leafs. We need to win them all, because as we all know, it’s the wins in November that matter.

Go Leafs Go!