clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview: Maple Leafs host the Blues

Remember when the Blues used to be the anti-Leafs. Where did they go?

Toronto Maple Leafs v St Louis Blues Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

St. Louis Blues @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: SNO, BSMW

Opponent’s Site: St. Louis Game Time

The Leafs last game was an away game on December 31 against the Colorado Avalanche, which Toronto won by a score of 6-2. The Leafs have a record of 23-8-6 so far.

The St. Louis Blues last played at home on December 31 against the Minnesota Wild. The Blues lost by a score of 5-2, and their current league record is 17-17-3.

Them

Toronto vs St. Louis

Toronto Stat St. Louis
Toronto Stat St. Louis
70.3 - 3rd Points % - Ranking 50.0 - 22nd
3.378 - 8th Goals/Game - Ranking 3.027 - 23rd
2.541 - 3rd Goals Against/Game - Ranking 3.622 - 26th
24.8 - 10th Power Play% - Ranking 21.9 - 16th
79.0 - 15th Penalty Kill% - Ranking 71.6 - 29th
10.6 - 9th Team Sh% - Ranking 10.3 - 13th
0.911 - 8th Team Sv% - Ranking 0.888 - 28th
William Nylander - 21 Most Goals (NST) Jordan Kyrou - 17
William Nylander, Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews - 42 Most Points (NST) Jordan Kyrou - 35
Michael Bunting - 44 Most PIM (NST) Robert Bortuzzo, Niko Mikkola - 25
Morgan Rielly - 22.69 TOI Leader (NST) Colton Parayko - 23.52

We just saw this team a week ago, so the only thing to know now is that there’s fewer of them. Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko are both injured, and Torey Krug is still out. The Blues are in an interesting position in the standings, much like Florida, Ottawa, Vancouver and Nashville. They’re not bottom feeders, and they have strengths as a team, but they’ve lost so much already, they really can’t make up the ground to a wild card playoff spot without four or five teams above them imploding.

Lines

Source: Matthew DeFranks via Daily Faceoff

Lines are from yesterday.

Pavel Buchnevich - Robert Thomas - Jordan Kyrou
Brandon Saad - Brayden Schenn - Ivan Barbashev
Alexei Toropchenko - Noel Acciari - Tyler Pitlick
Jake Neighbours - Logan Brown - Josh Leivo

Niko Mikkola - Colton Parayko
Nick Leddy - Justin Faulk
Calle Rosen - Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington
Thomas Greiss

Us

The Leafs bounced back from a dull game in Arizona with their other standard performance — chaos on skates. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a team climb up the mountain into Denver and skate so hard for 60 minutes. When the Leafs have speed, they can’t be beat by anything short of an epic goalie performance.

Joey Anderson has been sent down, leaving roster room to reactivate Rasmus Sandin later today. Conor Timmins, who has been very good, gets to sit to make room. The result is the best combination of defence pairing where each player is with the partner with whom he has performed, if not the best, at least very well.

Lines

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

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren

Matt Murray
Ilya Samsonov

The Game

There’s not a lot about this Blues lineup to inspire fear. Nick Leddy will play the hardest with O’Reilly out. The defence, once the power of the Blues, is legitimately worse than Toronto’s emergency defence hologram. Their top line is deceptively good, led by the anonymously named Thomas. Jordan Kyrou is a real player and Buchnevich can give you trouble.

The next two months will be full of games like this. You just have to grind through them, get the win, or as near as you can, and move on to the next one. This is the real meat of the NHL season, where it’s easy to get bored and start to feel every injury and let it slip away.

The Leafs are neck-and-neck with Carolina for the “not Boston” glory in the Eastern Conference. It’s a good thing that Tampa has woken up and is breathing down their necks a little because the Leafs can’t slack off, even if Boston’s truly absurd .838 points % is untouchable.

Today is game one of the “not slacking off, no matter how much you want to” part of the season.