The Toronto Maple Leafs are on a roll. Over the past month the Maple Leafs are 8-3-1, and their last regulation loss was on December 12th in Calgary against the Flames. Since then the Leafs have gotten 13 of 14 available points and jumped up the divisional standings to second in the Atlantic - still 10 points back of the Boston Bruins, but ahead of the Lightning, Panthers, Canadiens, and Sabres.
Now the Leafs both begin and end the years on the road, celebrating the end of 2019 in Minnesota, while they will kick off 2020 in Winnipeg on Thursday night. A day long train ride to the black fly capital of the world is just the thing to keep the players from ringing in the New Year with too much enthusiasm.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Minnesota Wild
6PM Toronto - 5PM Local
St. Paulliapolois, MN
Opponent SBN site: I have never thought of them once, ever.
The Leafs are playing well, despite the injuries piling up faster than whatever a stereotype about Minnesota is. Piling up faster than lutefisk containers? I don’t now, the point is the Leafs are down Jake Muzzin (foot), Ilya Mikheyev (wrist), Nathan Horton (back), Andreas Johnsson (leg), Trevor Moore (concussion), and David Clarkson (no talent).
If we stay looking at the bright side, this is a bonus to younger players and AHL vets. Martin Marincin got to play in the last game after being yo-yo’d between the Marlies and Leafs. Adam Brooks made his NHL debut and now will get the chance to play in his hometown of Winnipeg on Thursday night (unless he’s benched for a big game for no apparent reason). One of the off-season signings is even getting a taste of the NHL road trip experience as Teemu Kivihalme has been called up from the Marlies to be the seventh defender.
Updated: Maple Leafs recall two defenders (really just one) ahead of their roadtrip
Toronto Maple Leafs lines
From previous game
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitchell Marner
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza - Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov - Frederik Gauthier - Adam Brooks
Morgan Rielly - Tyson Barrie
Martin Marincin - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Cody Ceci
Things went generally well against the Rangers - it was a typical Leafs game with chasing leads and the what not - so I wouldn’t expect a lot of big changes.
Minnesota Wild lines
Ryan Donato - Eric Staal - Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno - Victor Rask - Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Carson Soucy
Brad Hunt - Mathew Dumba
The Wild’s December has been just as good as the Leafs, going 9-3-1 overall and most recently going 4-1 in their last five and scoring 24 goals in those five games. We should be looking at a good high octane game from these two teams.
Mikko Koivu is a game-time decision as he hasn’t played since the beginning of the month, but what’s the perfect time to burst back onto the scene then against the Maple Leafs?
Boudreau says Koivu is probably a gametime decision tomorrow. This was really his first full practice since FLA injury, so it’ll be up to Koivu and medical trainer John Worley #mnwild— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) December 30, 2019
|23GF - 21GA - +2||Goal Differential||21GF - 23GA - -2|
|16% - 11th||Power Play||22.6% - 7th|
|77.4% - 10th||Penalty Kill||84% - 6th|
|Auston Matthews - 4||Most Goals||Colton, Palat - 3|
|Mitch Marner - 5||Most Assists||Nikita Kucherov - 6|
|Auston Matthews - 8||Most Points||Nikita Kucherov - 8|
|Ilya Lyubushkin - 18||Most PM||Jan Rutta - 17|
|TJ Brodie - 22:44||TOI Leader||Victor Hedman - 25:45|
|Jack Campbell - .893sv%||Starting Goalie||Andrei Vasilevskiy - .885sv%|
It’s going to be a fun night tonight, with the game starting extra early so you can celebrate the new year in whichever way you like. I’m going to my first OHL game of the season, and then playing quiplash and passing out by 11.
Happy New Year everyone and Go Leafs Go!