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Preview: One last game in 2022

Ending the road trip against the dilapidated defending champs.

Colorado Rockies v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Colorado Avalanche
7:00 PM at Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
Watch on: Sportsnet, Altitude Sports

Opponent’s Site: Mile High Hockey

The Leafs last game was an away game on December 29 against the Arizona Coyotes, which Toronto lost by a score of 6-3. The Leafs have a record of 22-8-6 so far.

The Colorado Avalanche last played at home on December 29 against the Los Angeles Kings. The Avalanche lost by a score of 5-4, and their current league record is 19-12-3.

Them

The defending Stanley Cup champions have had a hard go this season, missing key players for long stretches. Right now their current list of injuries is: Gabriel Landeskog, Darren Helm, Josh Manson, Nathan MacKinnon, Bowen Byram, Valeri Nichushkin, Pavel Francouz.

There are a couple key names on there, specifically Landeskog and MacKinnon. Not great to miss those two guys. (Wow, such analysis) Despite the losses the Avalanche haven’t completely fallen off the playoffs radar, they currently sit in the fist wildcard spot, and are in a three way tangle with the Flames and Kraken over it and are two points out of a divisional spot. Rest up for the post season!

Over their past five games they’ve lost to the Coyotes and Kings, and needed extra time to beat the Islanders, Canadiens, and Predators. If the Leafs want to win, they’ll only need a two goal lead, as the Avalanche are only winning recently by one goal in regulation, overtime, or in a shootout.

Sounds simple, the Leafs love scoring goals, so that should be doable.

Lines

Source: Last Game: (12/29) via Daily Faceoff

Artturi Lehkonen - JT Compher - Mikko Rantanen
Alex Newhook - Evan Rodrigues - Denis Malgin?
Andrew Cogliano - Ben Meyers - Logan O’Connor
Kurtis MacDermid - Charles Hudon - Jacob MacDonald

Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Andreas Englund - Brad Hunt

Alexander Georgiev
Jonas Johansson

No former Leafs on the roster, thankfully.

Us

Aren’t they the best? Just, I love this team.

Sure, the lost to the Coyotes but that’s what they do sometimes. The Leafs have been winning all through December, with only three losses. 6-3 to Arizona, 5-2 to Washington, and 3-1 to the Rangers. Don’t dwell on that, December also included three shutouts (Ducks, Kings, Stars) and a solid beating of the Lighting (4-1).

Morgan Rielly is back in the line up, new guy Dryden Hunt is fighting to stay in the line up, and Conor Timmins continues to prove his doubters wrong.

No solid yes or no on the starter yet, but with Samsonov having played against the Coyotes we can guess that Matt Murray will get the start against the depleted Avalanche.

Lines (from pervious game)

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Calle Järnkrok - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Alex Kerfoot - David Kämpf - Pierre Engvall
Zach Aston-Reese - Pontus Holmberg - Dryden Hunt

Mark Giordano - Justin Holl
Morgan Rielly - Timothy Liljegren
TJ Brodie - Conor Timmins

Matt Murray
Ilya Samsonov

The Game

Toronto vs Colorado

Toronto Stat Colorado
Toronto Stat Colorado
69.4 - 3rd Points % - Ranking 60.3 - 12th
3.306 - 11th Goals/Game - Ranking 2.941 - 25th
2.556 - 2nd Goals Against/Game - Ranking 2.735 - 9th
24.8 - 10th Power Play% - Ranking 27.0 - 6th
78.4 - 15th Penalty Kill% - Ranking 75.5 - 21st
10.3 - 13th Team Sh% - Ranking 8.8 - 28th
0.910 - 9th Team Sv% - Ranking 0.914 - 4th
William Nylander - 21 Most Goals (NST) Mikko Rantanen - 24
Mitchell Marner - 41 Most Points (NST) Mikko Rantanen - 45
Michael Bunting - 44 Most PIM (NST) Josh Manson - 40
Morgan Rielly - 22.86 TOI Leader (NST) Cale Makar - 27.18

With the final game of 2022 coming against the defending champions, I’m in two places with this game. The Leafs will usually get excited and get up to play a top team. Play to their level, but with so many key pieces of the Avs missing, will it turn into a “play down and lose to a bad team” game? Will the thoughts of celebrating new years eve in Denver, so high up in the sky, distract the players from the game?

Poll

How will the game go?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Everyone gives their all, Leafs dominate.
    (61 votes)
  • 18%
    Leafs slack off, focus on partying.
    (25 votes)
  • 36%
    I don’t know how it will go but it’s clearly all Morgan Riellys fault.
    (49 votes)
135 votes total Vote Now