Toronto Maple Leafs vs St. Louis Blues: Game # 46
Location: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
Broadcast/Streaming: TSN4, NHL Live
Opponent SBNation Site: St. Louis Game Time
Finally! The Bye week is over and we’re back to having the Toronto Maple Leafs playing hockey. The St. Louis Blues come to the Air Canada Centre for the teams second meeting of this season. The first time they met was in St. Louis and the Blues beat the Leafs 6-4.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Matt Martin - Frederik Gauthier - Connor Brown
The lines are as they were when the bye week began. Word is Nikita Soshnikov is almost ready to come back to play, and when he’s active the Leafs will need to demote someone down to the Marlies. So far the odd players out have been Dominic Moore and Josh Leivo, and Gauthier has been up getting a good look at the 4C role. One of those three will be the most likely targets for demotion/waivers as Soshnikov will be able to leave for the KHL if he’s demoted again.
One of the bigger things we should watch for is an Auston Matthews goal. He has yet to score on the Blues in his career.
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Travis Dermott - Roman Polak
Nikita Zaitsev is still out on IR and Dermott has been playing well enough to take a larger part of the ‘sharing the spot’ with Andreas Borgman.
Andersen will be our starter because this isn’t the second half of a back to back.
St. Louis Blues
Ivan Barbashev - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Dmitrij Jaskin - Brayden Schenn - Alex Steen
Vladimir Sobotka Patrik Berglund - Tage Thompson
Scottie Upshall - Oskar Sundqvist - Chris Thorburn
The Schenn trade is looking like one of the off-season’s best moves, he’s tied for points with Tarasenko and leads the Blues in assists.
Carl Gunnarsson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo
The Blues defence is pretty solid, and Gunnarson is probably loving the Polak trade more and more each day as he gets to play with Pietrangelo. Remember that? When the Leafs traded Gunnarson for Polak? And retained salary to get ROMAN POLAK?
Hutton has better numbers than Allen, but Allen is their go to starter, so that’s good news for us.
|265GF - 226GA - +29||Goal Differential||238GF - 234GA - +4|
|24.4% - 2nd overall||Power Play||21.7 - 10th overall|
|81.3% - 12th overall||Penalty Kill||81.9% - 7th overall|
|James van Riemsdyk - 36||Most Goals||Taylor Hall - 39|
|Mitch Marner - 47||Most Assists||Taylor Hall - 54|
|Mitch Marner - 69||Most Points||Taylor Hall - 93|
|Matt Martin - 50||Most PM||Miles Wood - 84|
|Jake Gardiner - 22:33/G||TOI Leader||Sami Vatanen - 22:42|
|Frederik Andersen - .917sv%||Starting Goalie||Keith Kincaid - .911sv%|
The Leafs will be on good footing if they play the penalty game, since the Blues have an awful power play, but if things go the other way and the Leafs get the power plays then good news as well as the Blues PK is average at best.
The Maple Leafs score more than the Blues in all situations, and have a deeper forward corps, the Blues rely on their top two lines for, well everything.
If the Leafs win tonight they’ll just be one point behind the Bruins for second in the Atlantic. The Blues need a win more than the Leafs however, as the central is jam packed. A win puts them two points out of first, but a loss keeps them just five points out of last.
The Leafs lost two straight to the Blue Jackets (3-2 OT) and the Senators (4-3) before the break, hopefully they’ve recharged and come back with a winning team before the next break in 10 days. Good timing.