Toronto Maple Leafs @ Nashville Predators
07:00 PM at Bridgestone Arena
Watch on: NHLN, CBC, BSSO
The Leafs last game was an away game on October 26 against the Dallas Stars, which Toronto won by a score of 4-1. The Leafs have a record of 5-2-0 so far.
The Nashville Predators last played at home on October 24 against the Vancouver Canucks. The Predators lost by a score of 3-2, and their current league record is 3-4-0.
Tonight is a "next gen" game, so the Leafs will wear their black and blue jerseys.
What to make of Nashville. They dumped a lot of salary last summer, and then turned about and added some big UFAs. The result was more efficient use of the cap, and maybe that was the motivation entirely, while the narrative at the time was about character.
Ryan O'Reilly, briefly a Leaf, is the 1C and he'd sure never be that in Toronto. There's a lot of things you can be in Nashville you can't in Toronto, and the team has cleverly played the lifestyle angle to attract players at a certain time of life.
Tyson Barrie, briefly a Leaf, is still on the third pair; although, I'd take him in a hot minute over the current 3RD. If you were expecting to see Luke Schenn, he's out for several weeks with an injury.
I'll be honest, I don't really even know who half the Preds' forwards are. Didn't all these people use to play for Columbus or is that just Liam Foudy who they claimed on waivers? Which isn't to say the team is bad because they have good defenders and a generally excellent goalie who has only been average so far this season.
Not sure who is coming out to make room for these two.
Last Game (10/21) via Daily Faceoff
Filip Forsberg - Ryan O'Reilly - Juuso Parssinen
Samuel Fagemo - Colton Sissons - Gustav Nyquist
Kiefer Sherwood - Thomas Novak - Luke Evangelista
Yakov Trenin - Michael McCarron - Cole Smith
Roman Josi - Dante Fabbro
Ryan McDonagh - Alexandre Carrier
Jeremy Lauzon - Tyson Barrie
Juuse Saros – confirmed starter
The first real injury has hit the Leafs, and the team sent Fraser Minten back to Kamloops early to make space to recall defender William Lagesson.
At practice, the forward lines haven't changed, and it's Mark Giordano who gets the promotion up to the second pair.
This is Ilya Samsonov's start and the single most important thing the Leafs could do to enable a challenge to Boston for top of the Atlantic is to have him get his shit together. He knows it, the team knows it, and he's not going to get left on the bench in punishment. Most of what he's been doing that's off is that he's literally off – off the post, off the optimal positioning, off the rhythm of the game.
Calle Järnkrok - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi - John Tavares - William Nylander
Matt Knies - David Kämpf - Max Domi
Noah Gregor - Pontus Holmberg - Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren
William Lagesson - John Klingberg
It is tough to get into scoring position against Nashville. They aren't very strong offensively, but the Leafs will always give away golden opportunities to those who will patiently wait. The shots they allow look a lot like what the Panthers give up – nothing from the slot.
If you tot up the skills of the Leafs players and the Nashville roster and compare the number, and you know... I really don't buy in on that methodology. I think the Preds can play in a way that will be a big test for the Leafs. Part of the challenge is keeping focus on this game, giving Samsonov a chance to find his game by playing smart and not just thinking about the ride home to come.
That's the job, Leafs, try to do it well.