Leafs survive for a 4-3 win against the Penguins

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well!  Buy Your Tickets from the link below  http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well! 

Buy Your Tickets from the link below

 http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Spencer Lussier

It looked like a blow out in the making, after the Leafs scored two goals in the first two minutes of the game. However, the one aspect that Mike Babcock wanted to fix for this game was in the defensive zone. Needless to say, Babcock will not be happy with the Leafs effort in this game. After a three goal first period, the Penguins countered in the second with two of their own cutting the deficit in half.  Sidney Crosby made things interesting in the third with his third goal in the past five games. Once again Frederik Andersen had to bail out the Leafs defence with another superb effort in net, stopping 33 saves for his 17th win of the season, which is second in the league only behind Andrei Vasilevskiy. A lot of reaction from this game was the fact that William Nylander played less than nine minutes. When you look at the way the game unfolded, it made sense, with the Leafs needing to preserve the lead they turned to guys like Zach Hyman and Connor Brown to do so, instead of Nylander.

Performance of the Night:

Tyler Bozak earns the performance of the night. The veteran centre scored two goals including the game winner, while also chipping in an assist on James Van Riemsdyk’s goal. This was arguably Bozak’s best game this season, as he looked more involved in the play than games prior. Bozak had a team high five shots on net and once again was admirable in the face off dot. I don’t know if this is sustainable for the rest of the season, but it was important he stepped up tonight considering it was relatively quiet nights from the big offensive threats. If Bozak didn’t have his best game the season, then I don’t think the Leafs would have been able to win this game.

Watchability Scale:

I had some big expectations for this game. The two early goals really took away from the excitement  but towards the end when the game was close and Pittsburgh was pressuring for a goal, the game picked up in pace and intensity. I gave it a 5/5 pregame, but now that I got to see the two teams do battle, I give it a 4/5.

 

 

Game 30: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well!  Buy Your Tickets from the link below  http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well! 

Buy Your Tickets from the link below

 http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Spencer Lussier

Head Coach Mike Babcock was not pleased with the Leafs effort on Wednesday night in their shoot out win against the Calgary Flames. Babcock said the Flames outplayed the Leafs as bad as they have been outplayed all year. Despite pulling out the win, Babcock is tired of seeing Frederik Andersen making 40 plus saves night in and night out. Tonight, the Leafs have a tough task to tighten their defensive play as they square off with the high-powered offence of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The defending, defending Stanley Cup Champions got off to a slow start early in the season, but have been on a tear lately, winning five of their last six games. Funny how a team can get back on a roll when their star player picks up their play. Since the beginning of November, Sidney Crosby has found his scoring touch, registering 17 points in his past 12 games.

Morgan Rielly missed yesterday’s practice for the Leafs, but is still expected to play tonight. The young defenceman who is in the middle of a breakout season was dealing with some general stiffness and had a maintenance day, which is why he was not at practice.

Player to watch on Pittsburgh

We know the names like Crosby and Malkin will be a major force each and every game for Pittsburgh, but the player to watch for the Penguins tonight is of course Phil Kessel. Someone Leafs fans are familiar to watching, Kessel has surprisingly been the Penguins most consistent forward all season. The former Maple Leafs currently leads the Penguins team with 35 points and a team high 14 goals. Kessel has scored in his last three games and you know he would love to bury another one tonight against his former team.

Watchability scale

Since the inception of the scale, I have yet to give a game 5/5…..well no more as tonight’s matchup should have all the makings of an instant classic. You have two generational superstars going head to head in Auston Matthews and Sidney Crosby. Both teams have exceptional pace to their games, which should make for a fast game with quick transition opportunities for both teams. Pittsburgh number one goalie Matt Murray is out with injury, which means Tristian Jarry gets the start. He will be the main reason which will decide if this game is a blowout or competitive. Dare I say, but this could potentially be the matchup in this year’s Eastern Conference Final so get you playoff hockey fix early in December.

Lines:

Toronto:

Hyman-Matthews-Brown

Marleau-Kadri-Komarov

van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Marner

Martin-Moore-Nylander

Rielly-Hainsey

Gardiner-Zaitsev

Borgman-Polak

Andersen

Pittsburgh:

Sheary-Crosby-Rust

Guentzel-Malkin-Kessel

Hagelin-Sheahan-Hornqvist

Kuhnhackl-Rowney-Reaves

Dumoulin-Letang

Maatta-Hunwick

Cole-Ruhwedel

Jarry

Andersen steals two points in Leafs 2-1 shootout victory over Flames

Zack Cook Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well!  Buy Your Tickets from the link below  http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto Goaltending is the most important position in hockey, and few people would argue that after last nights performance on both ends of the ice. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen stood on his head and stole two points, leading the Buds to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Flames. Mike Smith was pretty good too. Calgary might have deserved a better fate last night, but then again, you could argue the same for the Leafs on Saturday against Vancouver. That just goes to show you how important goaltending is on any given night. Andersen's 47 save performance may have just been his most memorable one in a Leafs uniform, and it's been that kind of season for Andersen after he got past his October struggles.  Auston Matthews and William Nylander solved Mike Smith in the shootout and the Leafs improved to 2-1 this season in the skills competition. Although Andersen has been nothing short of stellar lately, the question has to be asked, how long can they continue to allow him to be peppered with high danger scoring chances and shot attempts. Is this style of play really sustainable in the long run? Time will tell, but history isn't on the Leafs side for this one.  Let's shift towards the Matt Tkachuk spear on Matt Martin. Tkachuk will have a hearing today to plead his case, but we have to call a spade what a spade is, that's a dirty play and it has no place in the National Hockey League. Sure, nobody got hurt, Martin even laughed it off after the game, but to not suspend Tkachuk here for at least a game is sending the wrong message to players and fans of the game. The NHL has a chance here to make a statement, and even it's a small one, give him a suspension and not just a fine, we've seen how the NFL has butchered these in the past, but it's time to show that the NHL means business here.  For one of the first times this season, my prediction that this game would be a fast paced, entertaining contest was bang on. Despite the low score, this game had me glued to the TV for the 65 minutes, plus the skills competition afterwords. You can lie to me and disagree but at the end of the day, this was one of the most fun Leaf games of the regular season.  Leafs next game: The Leafs are in Pittsburgh on Saturday to take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Should be a good one, hope you're all looking forward to it like us. 

Zack Cook

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well! 

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 http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Goaltending is the most important position in hockey, and few people would argue that after last nights performance on both ends of the ice. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen stood on his head and stole two points, leading the Buds to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Flames. Mike Smith was pretty good too. Calgary might have deserved a better fate last night, but then again, you could argue the same for the Leafs on Saturday against Vancouver. That just goes to show you how important goaltending is on any given night. Andersen's 47 save performance may have just been his most memorable one in a Leafs uniform, and it's been that kind of season for Andersen after he got past his October struggles. 

Auston Matthews and William Nylander solved Mike Smith in the shootout and the Leafs improved to 2-1 this season in the skills competition. Although Andersen has been nothing short of stellar lately, the question has to be asked, how long can they continue to allow him to be peppered with high danger scoring chances and shot attempts. Is this style of play really sustainable in the long run? Time will tell, but history isn't on the Leafs side for this one. 

Let's shift towards the Matt Tkachuk spear on Matt Martin. Tkachuk will have a hearing today to plead his case, but we have to call a spade what a spade is, that's a dirty play and it has no place in the National Hockey League. Sure, nobody got hurt, Martin even laughed it off after the game, but to not suspend Tkachuk here for at least a game is sending the wrong message to players and fans of the game. The NHL has a chance here to make a statement, and even it's a small one, give him a suspension and not just a fine, we've seen how the NFL has butchered these in the past, but it's time to show that the NHL means business here. 

For one of the first times this season, my prediction that this game would be a fast paced, entertaining contest was bang on. Despite the low score, this game had me glued to the TV for the 65 minutes, plus the skills competition afterwords. You can lie to me and disagree but at the end of the day, this was one of the most fun Leaf games of the regular season. 

Leafs next game: The Leafs are in Pittsburgh on Saturday to take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Should be a good one, hope you're all looking forward to it like us. 

Game 29: Calgary Flames vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Zack Cook Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well!  Buy Your Tickets from the link below   http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto After ending their Western Canadian road trip with a 2-1 loss to Vancouver, the Leafs are back home to take on another Western Canadian foe, the Calgary Flames. The two teams met last Tuesday, with the Leafs getting the best of the Flames in a 4-1 decision.  It's evident over the past few years that there is no love lost between the two teams, and we should expect another physical, hard fought game tonight. This is the type of contest where players like Zach Hyman and Leo Komarov should thrive. Seeing these two engaged early on would be a great sign for Toronto.  These are two of Canada's best hopes of bringing Lord Stanley back north of the border and we've seen encouraging signs from both teams, more so from the Leafs however. When Calgary went into the season with a defence that was considered one of the most formidable in the entire National Hockey League, expectations were sky high. Rightfully so. From one to six, there aren't many teams that can compete with what the Flames have to offer, and the Leafs can certainly take notice when they look to add to their defence core come the trade deadline and in the years to come.  Players to watch on Calgary As much as Calgary's success comes from the back end, much of their offence comes from Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan up front. Through 24 games, the duo have already combined for 60 points. More secondary scoring has been what the Flames should be targeting, but these two stars up front are a great place to start. In last weeks match up with Toronto, both players left a lot to be desired, thus Calgary needs more from them tonight.  Watchability Level Like I mentioned earlier, these teams don't exactly like each other, and that could all boil over into tonight. What I'm trying to say is that if you like old school hockey with a bunch of young, skilled players, watch this game tonight. Last week saw a more dominant Leaf victory, expect for more of a closer tilt tonight, and maybe even some OT action, who knows. I do however suggest that you tune in tonight, because this match up has great potential, and I'm giving it a 4/5 on the watchability scare. My opinion might not mean a ton to you, but if you're going to listen to me, now's the time.  Leaf Lines Zach Hyman Auston Matthews Connor Brown James van Riemsdyk Tyler Bozak Mitch Marner Patrick Marleau Nazem Kadri Leo Komarov Matt Martin Dominic Moore William Nylander Morgan Rielly Ron Hainsey Jake Gardiner Nikita Zaitsev Andreas Borgman Roman Polak Frederik Andersen Flames Lines Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Micheal Ferland Matthew Tkachuk Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik Sam Bennett Mark Jankowski Jaromir Jagr Garnet Hathaway Curtis Lazar Troy Brouwer Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton T.J. Brodie Travis Hamonic Brett Kulak Michael Stone Mike Smith

Zack Cook

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well! 

Buy Your Tickets from the link below 

 http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

After ending their Western Canadian road trip with a 2-1 loss to Vancouver, the Leafs are back home to take on another Western Canadian foe, the Calgary Flames. The two teams met last Tuesday, with the Leafs getting the best of the Flames in a 4-1 decision. 

It's evident over the past few years that there is no love lost between the two teams, and we should expect another physical, hard fought game tonight. This is the type of contest where players like Zach Hyman and Leo Komarov should thrive. Seeing these two engaged early on would be a great sign for Toronto. 

These are two of Canada's best hopes of bringing Lord Stanley back north of the border and we've seen encouraging signs from both teams, more so from the Leafs however. When Calgary went into the season with a defence that was considered one of the most formidable in the entire National Hockey League, expectations were sky high. Rightfully so. From one to six, there aren't many teams that can compete with what the Flames have to offer, and the Leafs can certainly take notice when they look to add to their defence core come the trade deadline and in the years to come. 

Players to watch on Calgary

As much as Calgary's success comes from the back end, much of their offence comes from Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan up front. Through 24 games, the duo have already combined for 60 points. More secondary scoring has been what the Flames should be targeting, but these two stars up front are a great place to start. In last weeks match up with Toronto, both players left a lot to be desired, thus Calgary needs more from them tonight. 

Watchability Level

Like I mentioned earlier, these teams don't exactly like each other, and that could all boil over into tonight. What I'm trying to say is that if you like old school hockey with a bunch of young, skilled players, watch this game tonight. Last week saw a more dominant Leaf victory, expect for more of a closer tilt tonight, and maybe even some OT action, who knows. I do however suggest that you tune in tonight, because this match up has great potential, and I'm giving it a 4/5 on the watchability scare. My opinion might not mean a ton to you, but if you're going to listen to me, now's the time. 

Leaf Lines

Zach Hyman Auston Matthews Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk Tyler Bozak Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau Nazem Kadri Leo Komarov
Matt Martin Dominic Moore William Nylander

Morgan Rielly Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Flames Lines

Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Micheal Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett Mark Jankowski Jaromir Jagr
Garnet Hathaway Curtis Lazar Troy Brouwer

Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie Travis Hamonic
Brett Kulak Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Markstrom steals a 2-1 win for Canucks

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well!  Buy Your Tickets Here  http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well! 

Buy Your Tickets Here

 http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Spencer Lussier

After scoring two goals in the first period, the Vancouver Canucks escaped with a 2-1 win over Toronto. The Leafs started this game slow which proved to be costly as the Canucks capitalize on the poor play with goals from Markus Granlund and Alex Edler. Once the Leafs fell behind 2-0 that's when they started to play with some push back, led by Auston Matthews who could have had four goals if the bounces went his way. Frederik Andersen who was announced as NHL’s second star of November, was not tested much making 24 saves and was just average in last night’s game. Andersen was hands down outplayed by Jacob Markstrom who stole Vancouver their fourth win at home this season. Prior to puck drop, the Canucks honoured Daniel Sedin after he recorded his 1000 career point on Thursday night. He joins his brother Henrik as the only two Canucks to reach that mark in franchise history. They both added an assist on Alex Edler’s goal with some vintage Sedin passing. Despite not seeing a goal scored in close to two periods, this game was highly entertaining. The Leafs created multiple scoring opportunities but ran into a hot goalie. This game saw scoring chances, suburb goaltending, fast paced action and was one of the more close and completive games on Saturday night, which is why it was a 4/5 on the Watchability scale.  

Performance of the Night:

Jacob Markstrom clearly stood out from the rest of the players in this game and has earned the Performance of the Night. After serving as Anders Nilsson’s backup in the last two game, Markstrom got the start and send a clear message to Travis Green and the rest of the coaching staff that he deserves to be between the pipes. Markstrom carried the Canucks for all but the first 10 minutes of the game, making 35 saves in his best game this season.

Game 28- Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well!  Buy Your Tickets Here  http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well! 

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 http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Spencer Lussier

The Toronto Maple Leafs finish off their western Canadian road trip tonight in Vancouver. The Leafs are coming off a win against the Oilers that was decided by an own goal from defenceman Kris Russell. The Canucks are coming off a win too, where Daniel Sedin made history recording his 1,000th career NHL point. Just like how Thursday’s win was on the road, Vancouver do most of their winning away from Rogers Arena, in fact they are tied with the Leafs for the best road record in the NHL at 9-5-1. That record also shows just how bad the Canucks have been at home, registering 3 wins at home which is where the game is taking place tonight. That could be some good news for the Leafs as they try to complete the sweep of Western Canada.

Player to Watch for Vancouver

November’s NHL Rookie of the Month Brock Boeser is the player to watch on Vancouver. Boeser has taken over quickly in Vancouver as their premier goal scorer and go to offensive weapon. The 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft led all NHL players with 11 goals in 15 games last month, which has bumped his point total to 25 in 23 games this season. Whether it is in close or if given space to shoot, Boeser makes a lot of teams pay. Make sure you keep your eye out for him, as Mike Babcock and the Leafs will certainly have all their attention on him.

Watchability Scale:

Tonight’s matchup should be a pretty entertaining game. Both team have some very skilled offensive players that are worth tuning in for. Former Leaf and now Canucks Head Coach Travis Green has brought some order to Vancouver’s lineup, making each player buy in every night. Vancouver may not be the most skilled team but they certainly are one of the hardest working teams. The Canucks goaltender Jakcob Markstrom is the key in this game. If he is sharp tonight, then the Leafs could be in for a long night with a feisty Vancouver team. If he is off his game then the Leafs should be in cruise control.

Lines:

Leafs:

Hyman – Matthews – Marner

Marleau – Bozak – Brown

JVR – Kadri – Komarov

Martin – Moore – Nylander

Rielly – Hainsey

Gardiner – Zaitsev

Borgman – Polak

Andersen

Canucks:

Goldobin – Horvat – Boeser

D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Virtanen

Baertschi – Burmistrov – Gagner

Vanek – Granlund – Eriksson

Edler – Pouliot

Del Zotto – Stecher

Hutton – Tanev

Markstrom

 

pucktalksdec13_copy.jpg

Stunning turn of events lead to Leafs 6-4 win over Oilers

Zack Cook Poor Kris Russell. After he tied the score at four early in the third period, Russell scored on his own net with just over a minute to play to give the Leafs a 5-4 lead. Nazem Kadri would add an empty netter after the goal was credited to Patrick Marleau to give Toronto a 6-4 victory. Russell played one of his best games as an Oiler in the contest, and to see that happen, it was truly tough to watch. If you don't feel some compassion for him, you're probably not human. Even after getting the victory, Leaf fans must have felt bad for Russell, but at the end of the day, he owned it and spoke to the media right away, which shows the true signs of the kind of leader he is.  It felt like the Oilers were the better team for a good chunk of the game, but clearly that's just the way their season is going.  The Leafs on the other hand, they continue to score. The main issue coming out of this one for Leaf fans is that they once again let a lead slip away. Ultimately, this could be a bit of teaching experience for Mike Babcock, who always loves to enlighten his young players on how they can be better in those situations the next time around.  Honestly, this was a pretty action filled game. I didn't have a lot of complaints watching it, purely as just an observational hockey fan. It was nice to see the Oilers show signs of life but damn that heartbreaking ending has really just been the Oilers season in a nutshell thus far. The Leafs defense and goaltending took a step back last night, but at the same time, the Western Canadian road trip is always tough, even if your fans do invade the opposing teams barn like Leafs nation did yesterday.  If you weren't a Leafs or Oilers fan, this was actually pretty entertaining and watchable. Despite the ending for Edmonton, there were some truly good things to build off of in the loss. Oilers fans might not want to admit it because of the ending, but I'd say this certainly lived up to the 3.75/5 stars I gave it, and maybe even exceeded it.  Next Game: Toronto Maples @ Vancouver Canucks, Saturday @7PM ET

Zack Cook

Poor Kris Russell. After he tied the score at four early in the third period, Russell scored on his own net with just over a minute to play to give the Leafs a 5-4 lead. Nazem Kadri would add an empty netter after the goal was credited to Patrick Marleau to give Toronto a 6-4 victory. Russell played one of his best games as an Oiler in the contest, and to see that happen, it was truly tough to watch. If you don't feel some compassion for him, you're probably not human. Even after getting the victory, Leaf fans must have felt bad for Russell, but at the end of the day, he owned it and spoke to the media right away, which shows the true signs of the kind of leader he is. 

It felt like the Oilers were the better team for a good chunk of the game, but clearly that's just the way their season is going. 

The Leafs on the other hand, they continue to score. The main issue coming out of this one for Leaf fans is that they once again let a lead slip away. Ultimately, this could be a bit of teaching experience for Mike Babcock, who always loves to enlighten his young players on how they can be better in those situations the next time around. 

Honestly, this was a pretty action filled game. I didn't have a lot of complaints watching it, purely as just an observational hockey fan. It was nice to see the Oilers show signs of life but damn that heartbreaking ending has really just been the Oilers season in a nutshell thus far.

The Leafs defense and goaltending took a step back last night, but at the same time, the Western Canadian road trip is always tough, even if your fans do invade the opposing teams barn like Leafs nation did yesterday. 

If you weren't a Leafs or Oilers fan, this was actually pretty entertaining and watchable. Despite the ending for Edmonton, there were some truly good things to build off of in the loss. Oilers fans might not want to admit it because of the ending, but I'd say this certainly lived up to the 3.75/5 stars I gave it, and maybe even exceeded it. 

Next Game: Toronto Maples @ Vancouver Canucks, Saturday @7PM ET

Game 27: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Edmonton Oilers 9PM ET

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well!  Buy Your Tickets Here  http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto Zack Cook In a bit of surprise, heading into tonight's Leafs and Oilers tilt, both Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid enter having not scored in their past five contests. The Oilers have struggled all season long and the only thing that's been consistent about their games is their inconsistency. General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media this week and the vibe he gave was that basically everything they've tried to right the ship, hasn't worked. Edmonton is looking to register their first three game win streak of the season, which is just a testament to how much they've underachieved. Both the Leafs and Oilers were offensive juggernauts last season, but the tale of the tape this year has the Leafs totaling 92 goals and the Oilers posting just 67.  Player to watch on Edmonton Leon Draisaitl has points in three of his last five games and is quietly playing some of his best hockey of the season. If the Oilers hope to figure things out, Leon has to be part of that solution. Laurent Brossoit is likely to get the start for the Oilers after Cam Talbot was placed on the IR this morning. Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan added this morning that Talbot will be out a minimum of two weeks and that it could be longer.  I certainly don't envy the position of Brossoit, especially against the high scoring Maple Leafs.  Watchability Level It's probably not possible to say that this game won't be entertaining. Whenever superstars like McDavid and Matthews collide, all eyes find their way to the screen. This one has the potential to be a back and forth, up and down, offensive showdown, or it could be a dud. Who really knows though, that's why we spend so much time watching these athletes. The point being, with these two stars playing, you're going to get some great shifts and some highlight reel maneuvers, so this is a must watch for me. I'll leave you with this, I love the star power, we'll give this a 3.75/5 stars. Yes, we can provide .75 stars. Deal with it.  Leaf Lines Zach Hyman Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Patrick Marleau Tyler Bozak Connor Brown James van Riemsdyk Nazem Kadri Leo Komarov Matt Martin Dominic Moore William Nylander Morgan Rielly Ron Hainsey Jake Gardiner Nikita Zaitsev Andreas Borgman Roman Polak Frederik Andersen Curtis McElhinney Oilers Lines Milan Lucic Connor McDavid Jesse Puljujarvi Patrick Maroon Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Anton Slepyshev Drake Caggiula Leon Draisaitl Ryan Strome Jujhar Khaira Mark Letestu Zack Kassian Darnell Nurse Adam Larsson Oscar Klefbom Matt Benning Yohann Auvitu Kris Russell Cam Talbot Laurent Brossoit

Get Your Tickets to our next Puck Talks Live event on Wednesday, December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest Include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. Steve Dangle was just added to the panel and he'll be a guest as well! 

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 http://www.homestandsports.com/upcoming-shows/2017/12/13/puck-talks-toronto

Zack Cook

In a bit of surprise, heading into tonight's Leafs and Oilers tilt, both Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid enter having not scored in their past five contests. The Oilers have struggled all season long and the only thing that's been consistent about their games is their inconsistency. General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media this week and the vibe he gave was that basically everything they've tried to right the ship, hasn't worked. Edmonton is looking to register their first three game win streak of the season, which is just a testament to how much they've underachieved. Both the Leafs and Oilers were offensive juggernauts last season, but the tale of the tape this year has the Leafs totaling 92 goals and the Oilers posting just 67. 

Player to watch on Edmonton

Leon Draisaitl has points in three of his last five games and is quietly playing some of his best hockey of the season. If the Oilers hope to figure things out, Leon has to be part of that solution. Laurent Brossoit is likely to get the start for the Oilers after Cam Talbot was placed on the IR this morning. Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan added this morning that Talbot will be out a minimum of two weeks and that it could be longer.  I certainly don't envy the position of Brossoit, especially against the high scoring Maple Leafs. 

Watchability Level

It's probably not possible to say that this game won't be entertaining. Whenever superstars like McDavid and Matthews collide, all eyes find their way to the screen. This one has the potential to be a back and forth, up and down, offensive showdown, or it could be a dud. Who really knows though, that's why we spend so much time watching these athletes. The point being, with these two stars playing, you're going to get some great shifts and some highlight reel maneuvers, so this is a must watch for me. I'll leave you with this, I love the star power, we'll give this a 3.75/5 stars. Yes, we can provide .75 stars. Deal with it. 

Leaf Lines

Zach Hyman Auston Matthews Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau Tyler Bozak Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk Nazem Kadri Leo Komarov
Matt Martin Dominic Moore William Nylander

Morgan Rielly Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

Oilers Lines

Milan Lucic Connor McDavid Jesse Puljujarvi
Patrick Maroon Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Anton Slepyshev
Drake Caggiula Leon Draisaitl Ryan Strome
Jujhar Khaira Mark Letestu Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom Matt Benning
Yohann Auvitu Kris Russell

Cam Talbot
Laurent Brossoit

Defence lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames

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Spencer Lussier

In what was supposed to be a clash of young superstars, the Toronto Maple Leafs defensive core played a major factor in a Leafs 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames. The task was tough, as the Leafs were asked to shut down one of the league’s hottest lines of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Michael Ferland. The line combined for a minus five and only three shots on goal, so you can say the Leafs defence did a pretty good job. Not only did they shut the Flames offence down but the defence led the charge on offence as Roman Polak and Nikita Zaitsev scored to lift the Leafs past the Flames. Frederik Andersen wasn’t tested much last night, making 19 saves but a win is a win and it pushes his record to 7-1-1 in his last 9 games. The Flames defence did a pretty good job containing the Maple Leafs offensive stars as well. For the first time in his young career Auston Matthews was held without a shot, although he did manage to pick up an assist. The Flames played with some truculence as former Leafs GM and now Flames President Brian Burke would say, bringing a certain element of size and speed that is very rare to find in the NHL nowadays, which made this team really fun to watch. The Leafs turned out to be the better team last night, but watching the Flames and how competitive this game was still a treat to watch. If you ended up missing last night game, I highly suggest you don’t make plans to watch the rematch on December 6th .

Performance of the Night:

The performance of the night goes to the Toronto defence, but in specific Nikita Zaitsev. Not only did Zaitsev score the game winner  but he logged the most minutes on the Leafs with close to 24 minutes. Zaitsev and his partner Jake Gardiner were the pair Head Coach Mike Babcock looked at to shutdown Calgary’s top line. Obviously, the pairing did a good job, limiting Gaudreau, Monahan and Ferland to just one shot each. The difference between why I gave Zaitsev some love and not Gardiner in this game is because Zaitsev logged nearly four minutes of penalty killing time and was a big reason for shutting down the Flames top 10th power play.

pucktalksdec13_copy.jpg

Game 26 - Toronto Maple Leafs vs Calgary Flames

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Spencer Lussier

The 105th Grey Cup rematch takes place tonight, this time on the ice as the Toronto Maple Leafs begin their Western Canada road trip in Calgary. Toronto will look to continue the city’s recent trend of beating Calgary teams, but just like the Grey Cup, this won’t be an easy task. Calgary enters this one winning 6 of their last 10 games, and a lot of that stemming from their explosive first line. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Michael Ferland are the perfect balance of skill, size and speed for a line. Gaudreau is tied for second in points with 34 and is a legitimate threat every time he is in the offensive zone. Sean Monahan is the finisher with 14 goals on the season which is fourth best in the NHL and Michael Ferland bring both the size and speed for a line that has recorded 45 points in their last 11 games. Clearly the emphasis for the Leafs game plan tonight is limiting the opportunities for the Flames first line. The task will most likely fall on Nazem Kadri’s line once again. Last season Toronto faired well against the Western Canadian teams with a record of 4-2, splitting both games with Calgary.

Player to Watch for Calgary:

Obviously, watch out for that first line of Gaudreau, Monahan and Ferland but another player on Calgary that will be important is Matthew Tkachuk. Now he is not the most offensively gifted player, but he will be important for the overall tone of the game. Tkachuk is arguably the biggest pest in the NHL right now. If he is able to ride the line of agitating the Leafs by forcing them to take unnecessary penalties while not committing any of his own, then the Flames have a good chance in this one, especially with the Flames owning a top 10 power play in the league.

Watchability Scale:

I won’t lie I have some high expectations for this game. If you can stay up for it then I suggest you do as both teams are similar in a way that they have young and exciting players that have evolved into must watch TV. If you have never seen a Johnny Gaudreau game, tune in tonight because he is a treat to watch. Gaudreau is one of the smallest players in the league but is also one of the most dangerous night in and night out. I expect a competitive game with some goals, remarkable saves and fast paced action. I give this game a full 5 out of 5.

Lines:

Leafs:

Hyman - Matthews - Brown

Marleau - Kadri - Komarov

JVR - Bozak - Marner

Martin - Moore - Nylander

Rielly - Hainsey

Gardiner - Zaitsev

Borgman - Polak

Andersen

Flames:

Gaudreau - Monahan - Ferland

Tkachuk - Backlund - Frolik

Bennett - Jankowski - Jagr

F. Hamilton - Stajan - Brouwer

Giordano - D. Hamilton 

Brodie - Hamonic

Bartkowski - Stone

Smith

Leafs comeback falls short in 4-2 loss to Capitals

Get tickets to our next Pitch Talks event at the Oshawa Curling Club on Wednesday, November 29, here. The panel features a number of high-profile journalists, including Sportsnet's Arash Madani, Shi Davidi, Arden Swelling, Mike Wilner, and many more! It's a night you're not going to want to miss!  Zack Cook Alex Ovechkin proved to us once again that he is one of the best goal scorers of all time in the Capitals 4-2 victory over the Leafs. Ovechkin recorded a hat trick, including his 16th, 17th and 18th markers of the year to help lift the Capitals to victory. Ovechkin now sits 21st all-time in goals and leads the NHL this season. The great 8's hat trick was his 20th in the NHL. With 576 goals, he is one behind Mark Recchi for 20th on the NHL list.  It was pretty clear from the drop of the puck that the Capitals weren't happy with how they played against the Leafs earlier this season. Surprisingly, despite the early score, the Leafs didn't get off to their usual slow start. They looked good and applied a lot of pressure, but were unable to light the twine. Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev were able to score six minutes apart in the third period to get within one, but Ovechkin's empty netter sealed the game for the Capitals and sent Leaf fans home in disarray.  Watchability level reaction This wasn't a poor game by any means. Of course you have to consider that the Leafs were unable to come out with a victory, but it's always fun to see history being made, and we did see that with another Ovechkin hat trick. The one thing about this Leafs team that's inspiring is that they don't seem to quit. After falling behind 3-0 and being on the second half of a back-to-back, the club easily could have folded and said tonight wasn't our night. That wasn't the case for the boys in blue and it's certainly a positive that they can move forward with. When you have this much offensive firepower on your roster, you're never really out of games unless you check out mentally, and the Leafs didn't do that last night.  Overall, it was a pretty entertaining Hockey Night in Canada showdown, but I believe it fell just short of the 4/5 prediction that was decided on before the game.  Next game: Tuesday @Calgary 9PM ET  

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Zack Cook

Alex Ovechkin proved to us once again that he is one of the best goal scorers of all time in the Capitals 4-2 victory over the Leafs. Ovechkin recorded a hat trick, including his 16th, 17th and 18th markers of the year to help lift the Capitals to victory. Ovechkin now sits 21st all-time in goals and leads the NHL this season. The great 8's hat trick was his 20th in the NHL. With 576 goals, he is one behind Mark Recchi for 20th on the NHL list.

 It was pretty clear from the drop of the puck that the Capitals weren't happy with how they played against the Leafs earlier this season. Surprisingly, despite the early score, the Leafs didn't get off to their usual slow start. They looked good and applied a lot of pressure, but were unable to light the twine. Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev were able to score six minutes apart in the third period to get within one, but Ovechkin's empty netter sealed the game for the Capitals and sent Leaf fans home in disarray. 

Watchability level reaction

This wasn't a poor game by any means. Of course you have to consider that the Leafs were unable to come out with a victory, but it's always fun to see history being made, and we did see that with another Ovechkin hat trick.

The one thing about this Leafs team that's inspiring is that they don't seem to quit. After falling behind 3-0 and being on the second half of a back-to-back, the club easily could have folded and said tonight wasn't our night. That wasn't the case for the boys in blue and it's certainly a positive that they can move forward with. When you have this much offensive firepower on your roster, you're never really out of games unless you check out mentally, and the Leafs didn't do that last night. 

Overall, it was a pretty entertaining Hockey Night in Canada showdown, but I believe it fell just short of the 4/5 prediction that was decided on before the game. 

Next game: Tuesday @Calgary 9PM ET

 

Game 25: Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 7PM ET

Zack Cook The Toronto Maple Leafs had a late game scare against the Carolina Hurricanes last night but hung on for a 5-4 victory, while Washington stunned Tampa Bay with a 3-1 victory of their own. The two teams will collide tonight at the ACC where the Capitals will likely be looking for some revenge after an early season loss to the Maple Leafs. Washington sits in the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Leafs are second in the Atlantic, three points back of division leading Tampa Bay.  Player to watch on Washington (Hint: there might be more than one) Maybe this is surprising to some, but Evgeni Kuznestov, not Alex Ovechkin, leads the Capitals in points with 26. Ovechkin is closing the gap though, just four points behind him with 22. Washington's offense has a ton of firepower, but their weakness lies on defense, where they've allowed 73 goals this season.  Watchability level This one will be interesting, and is definitely a must watch for hockey fans. The Leafs likely still have the sour taste of last years six game first round exit by Washington in the back of their mouths. Earlier this season, Toronto shutout the Capitals 2-0, and was one of the Leafs best played defensive games of the season, limiting the Capitals in scoring chances. Mike Babcock and the Leafs coaching staff will probably want to follow a similar script in this one, but it might be difficult with Washington's offensive skill. Babcock might not like it, but if the Leafs continue to come out of the gate slow, this could be a goal filled affair. Playoff rematches are always fun, and both teams have a lot of offensive flair, thus I'm going to give this a 4/5 on the watchability scale. Both goalies, Braden Holtby and Freddie Andersen have the ability to steal games, but we'll see if they're up to the task tonight in Toronto.  Leaf Probable Lines Hyman - Matthews - Marner van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Nylander Komarov - Kadri - Soshnikov/Leivo Martin - Marleau - Brown Rielly - Hainsey Gardiner - Zaitsev Borgman - Carrick McElhinney Caps Probable Lines Ovechkin - Backstrom - Wilson Vrana - Kuznetsov - Oshie Connolly - Eller - Smith-Pelly Stephenson - Beagle - Chiasson Orlov - Niskanen Orpik - Carlson Chorney - Bowey Holtby 

Zack Cook

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a late game scare against the Carolina Hurricanes last night but hung on for a 5-4 victory, while Washington stunned Tampa Bay with a 3-1 victory of their own. The two teams will collide tonight at the ACC where the Capitals will likely be looking for some revenge after an early season loss to the Maple Leafs. Washington sits in the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Leafs are second in the Atlantic, three points back of division leading Tampa Bay. 

Player to watch on Washington (Hint: there might be more than one)

Maybe this is surprising to some, but Evgeni Kuznestov, not Alex Ovechkin, leads the Capitals in points with 26. Ovechkin is closing the gap though, just four points behind him with 22. Washington's offense has a ton of firepower, but their weakness lies on defense, where they've allowed 73 goals this season. 

Watchability level

This one will be interesting, and is definitely a must watch for hockey fans. The Leafs likely still have the sour taste of last years six game first round exit by Washington in the back of their mouths. Earlier this season, Toronto shutout the Capitals 2-0, and was one of the Leafs best played defensive games of the season, limiting the Capitals in scoring chances. Mike Babcock and the Leafs coaching staff will probably want to follow a similar script in this one, but it might be difficult with Washington's offensive skill. Babcock might not like it, but if the Leafs continue to come out of the gate slow, this could be a goal filled affair. Playoff rematches are always fun, and both teams have a lot of offensive flair, thus I'm going to give this a 4/5 on the watchability scale. Both goalies, Braden Holtby and Freddie Andersen have the ability to steal games, but we'll see if they're up to the task tonight in Toronto. 

Leaf Probable Lines

Hyman - Matthews - Marner
van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Nylander
Komarov - Kadri - Soshnikov/Leivo
Martin - Marleau - Brown

Rielly - Hainsey
Gardiner - Zaitsev
Borgman - Carrick

McElhinney

Caps Probable Lines

Ovechkin - Backstrom - Wilson
Vrana - Kuznetsov - Oshie
Connolly - Eller - Smith-Pelly
Stephenson - Beagle - Chiasson

Orlov - Niskanen
Orpik - Carlson
Chorney - Bowey

Holtby 

Hurricanes late comeback fails, Leafs hang on for 5-4 win

Zack Cook For a game where the Leafs once led 3-0, this one sure didn't turn out to be a laugher like some initially thought. Mike Babcock said it perfectly after the game, “Some nights they’re ugly. Kenny Holland always used to say ‘it’ll be a Picasso in the morning when you look at the standings.”’ Couldn't have said it better myself, Mike.  One thing that the Leafs can't continue is slow starts. Out of the gate, the Leafs have been atrocious through the first quarter of the season, and that kind of style of play will get them into trouble in late April and May games when they really count.  Patrick Marleau recorded his 102nd game winning goal to propel the Leafs to victory, showing just how important his veteran presence is in this young Toronto lineup. One spot that was a little dim for Toronto, they played their worst Corsi game in the Mike Babcock era, posting just a 29% at even strength. Coach can't be happy with that, but a wins a win.  Don't expect Matt Martin to draw back in on Saturday for Josh Leivo. Leivo recorded his first of the year and didn't look out of place with Marleau and Connor Brown.  Watchability level Like I mentioned earlier, this one could have gotten out of hand early in the second period, but the Leafs allowed Carolina back into it and if it wasn't for Andersen in goal, this one might have gotten away from Toronto. What I'm trying to say is that goals are fun, and nine combined goals will always make for happy fans around the league. The league obviously wants scoring to increase and wouldn't have an issue with this one almost reaching double digit goals. With that being said, it was quite an entertaining hockey game and lived up to the 3/5 pre game stars it was awarded. Let's see how the Leafs respond when they host the Capitals tonight.  Next Game:Today @7PM vs. Washington Capitals

Zack Cook

For a game where the Leafs once led 3-0, this one sure didn't turn out to be a laugher like some initially thought. Mike Babcock said it perfectly after the game, “Some nights they’re ugly. Kenny Holland always used to say ‘it’ll be a Picasso in the morning when you look at the standings.”’ Couldn't have said it better myself, Mike. 

One thing that the Leafs can't continue is slow starts. Out of the gate, the Leafs have been atrocious through the first quarter of the season, and that kind of style of play will get them into trouble in late April and May games when they really count. 

Patrick Marleau recorded his 102nd game winning goal to propel the Leafs to victory, showing just how important his veteran presence is in this young Toronto lineup. One spot that was a little dim for Toronto, they played their worst Corsi game in the Mike Babcock era, posting just a 29% at even strength. Coach can't be happy with that, but a wins a win. 

Don't expect Matt Martin to draw back in on Saturday for Josh Leivo. Leivo recorded his first of the year and didn't look out of place with Marleau and Connor Brown. 

Watchability level

Like I mentioned earlier, this one could have gotten out of hand early in the second period, but the Leafs allowed Carolina back into it and if it wasn't for Andersen in goal, this one might have gotten away from Toronto. What I'm trying to say is that goals are fun, and nine combined goals will always make for happy fans around the league. The league obviously wants scoring to increase and wouldn't have an issue with this one almost reaching double digit goals. With that being said, it was quite an entertaining hockey game and lived up to the 3/5 pre game stars it was awarded. Let's see how the Leafs respond when they host the Capitals tonight. 

Next Game:Today @7PM vs. Washington Capitals

Game 24: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Carolina Hurricanes 7:30PM ET

Zack Cook The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight in Raleigh. The Buds will have a bit of a different look to their lineup, with Matt Martin expected to be a healthy scratch for the first time as a Maple Leaf. Josh Leivo will likely make his way into the lineup, playing on the fourth line with Patrick Marleau and Connor Brown.  The Leafs have dropped their last two to Arizona and Florida, while the Hurricanes fell 6-1 to the Rangers on Wednesday. James Van Riemsdyk enters tonight's contest with five goals in his last six games. The first goal tonight will be very telling on the result, the Leafs are 11-4 when they strike first in games, while Carolina are 7-1-1.  Who to watch on Carolina Teuvo Teravainen is coming in red hot with ten points in his last four games. The sneaky winger plays alongside Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho, making for a very formidable top line. Ron Hainsey, who returns to Carolina for the first time as a Maple Leaf, and Morgan Rielly will have their work cut out for them tonight against that top line.  Watchability Level This match up has sneaky potential. The Leafs often struggle against the Hurricanes, but when you look at their roster, its quietly a very deep team. The Canes have the 30th ranked power play and often struggle to score goals, except of course against the Maple Leafs. Look for this game to have a lot of flow to it, and for teams to constantly trade chances (Basically, what I'm saying is that the coaches of both teams won't like this match up very much, but the fans might.) Don't surprised if the Leafs continue their trend of coming out flat into games, and that could get them into trouble against a Carolina team that's successful when they score first.  Overall, there's some interesting storylines present, and I'm expecting a rather back and forth contest. Therefore, I'll hand out a solid 3/5 watchability rating for tonight's game.  Leaf Lines Hyman - Matthews - Marner van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Nylander Komarov - Kadri - Soshnikov Leivo - Marleau - Brown Rielly - Hainsey Gardiner - Zaitsev Borgman - Carrick Andersen Hurricanes Lines Aho - Staal - Teravainen McGinn - Ryan - Williams Skinner - Lindholm - Di Guiseppe Nordstrom - Kruger - Jooris Slavin - Pesce Fleury - Faulk Hanifin - van Riemsdyk Darling/Ward  

Zack Cook

The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight in Raleigh. The Buds will have a bit of a different look to their lineup, with Matt Martin expected to be a healthy scratch for the first time as a Maple Leaf. Josh Leivo will likely make his way into the lineup, playing on the fourth line with Patrick Marleau and Connor Brown.  The Leafs have dropped their last two to Arizona and Florida, while the Hurricanes fell 6-1 to the Rangers on Wednesday.

James Van Riemsdyk enters tonight's contest with five goals in his last six games. The first goal tonight will be very telling on the result, the Leafs are 11-4 when they strike first in games, while Carolina are 7-1-1. 

Who to watch on Carolina

Teuvo Teravainen is coming in red hot with ten points in his last four games. The sneaky winger plays alongside Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho, making for a very formidable top line. Ron Hainsey, who returns to Carolina for the first time as a Maple Leaf, and Morgan Rielly will have their work cut out for them tonight against that top line. 

Watchability Level

This match up has sneaky potential. The Leafs often struggle against the Hurricanes, but when you look at their roster, its quietly a very deep team. The Canes have the 30th ranked power play and often struggle to score goals, except of course against the Maple Leafs. Look for this game to have a lot of flow to it, and for teams to constantly trade chances (Basically, what I'm saying is that the coaches of both teams won't like this match up very much, but the fans might.)

Don't surprised if the Leafs continue their trend of coming out flat into games, and that could get them into trouble against a Carolina team that's successful when they score first. 

Overall, there's some interesting storylines present, and I'm expecting a rather back and forth contest. Therefore, I'll hand out a solid 3/5 watchability rating for tonight's game. 

Leaf Lines

Hyman - Matthews - Marner
van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Nylander
Komarov - Kadri - Soshnikov
Leivo - Marleau - Brown

Rielly - Hainsey
Gardiner - Zaitsev
Borgman - Carrick

Andersen

Hurricanes Lines

Aho - Staal - Teravainen
McGinn - Ryan - Williams
Skinner - Lindholm - Di Guiseppe
Nordstrom - Kruger - Jooris

Slavin - Pesce
Fleury - Faulk
Hanifin - van Riemsdyk

Darling/Ward

 

Luongo stands tall in Florida Panthers 2-1 win against Toronto Maple Leafs

luongo23.jpg

Spencer Lussier

After calling for an offensive clinic by the Leafs, it turned out to be the goalies that would put on the show. Roberto Luongo owns the Leafs in his career pushing his record to 21-9-3, after a brilliant 43 save performance, flashing his game from years ago when he was in his prime. Frederik Andersen wasn’t too shabby either, making 42 stops keeping Toronto in the game for majority of the night. Andersen is notoriously bad in shootouts, so it was not a shocker to see him look silly on a couple of attempts. Toronto started the game off slow, recording their first shot on net almost half way through the first period. Nick Bjugstad opened the scoring, banking one off Connor Carrick and past Andersen in the 2nd but Nazem Kadri would tie it up in the 3rd which sent it to a shootout. Kadri played a great game, obviously scoring the lone goal, which extends his current point streak to 8 games, which is also his new career high. Kadri along with his line did a good job containing Florida’s dynamic top line on defence too. However, his temper is an issue and his penalty call was selfish. Two cross checks to his back were not called, so Kadri took matters into his own hands retaliating by giving a cross check of his own which would be called. Especially in a tight game like this, Kadri cannot be taking selfish penalties giving teams free power play opportunities. This game surprisingly turned out to be a pretty good watch. Both goalies were on the A games, and both young teams made some remarkable plays to set up scoring chances.

Performance of the Night:

Auston Matthews earns my performance of the night. Now he didn’t record any points but with Matthews finally being paired with Mitch Marner on his line it helped create scoring chances and when they were on the ice the puck was glued to their sticks. It was a good bounce back game by the sophomore, who was called out by Mike Babcock after Monday’s loss.

 

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Game 23- Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers

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Spencer Lussier

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a chance to start a new winning streak tonight against the Florida Panthers. After Monday’s loss to Arizona, Toronto’s looking to capitalize against a Florida team who is getting back from a 1-2 California road trip. Head Coach Mike Babcock called out his young superstars after a lackluster loss so expect big night from Auston Matthews, as he agreed with Babcock that he needed to be better. He has something to prove. The Leafs will also need a big effort from Nazem Kadri defensively tonight. Florida’s top line of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgeni Dadonov are the main factors that drive this Florida offence, recording 59 points of the 167 the Panthers roster has. Kadri and his line will most likely be given the task to shut down this Florida's top line which is key to contain the Panthers offensive attack. This is the first time these teams are meeting this season, after the Leafs took four of the five games last season. Connor Brown loved playing against the Panthers, registering six points against the Panthers last season.

Player to Watch for Florida:

I talked about the big three for Florida but the Panther to watch tonight is Vincent Trocheck. The 24-year-old has been the most consistent Panther the last couple of weeks tallying four points in the last five games. Trocheck is a smaller player but doesn’t play like it, having a bit of an edge to his game. He is the most important piece for the secondary scoring on Florida and he will need to have a big game to have a chance against the Leafs.

 

Watchability Scale

Florida is 12 points behind the Leafs in the standings and has the second highest goals against per game, which means all signs point to it being a high scoring affair for the Leafs. Florida’s top line is intriguing to watch but Florida really doesn’t have much on offence that can compare to the Leafs. I will give this game a 2 out of 5 on the scale, expecting an offensive clinic by the Leafs.

Lines:

Toronto:

Hyman – Matthews – Nylander

Marleau – Kadri – Komarov

JVR – Bozak – Marner

Martin – Moore – Brown

 

Rielly – Hainsey

Gardiner – Zaitsev

Borgman – Carrick

Andersen

 

Florida

Huberdeau – Barkov – Dadonov

Brickley – Trocheck – Bjugstad

McGinn – McCann – Sceviour

Haley – Balisy – Hunt

 

Yandle – Ekblad

Matheson – Pysyk

McCoshen – Weegar

Luongo

 

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Arizona Coyotes snap Toronto Maple Leafs' 7 game win streak with a 4-1 win

andersen vs yotes.jpg

Spencer Lussier

With the Leafs coming into Monday’s matchup against Arizona with more wins in their current winning streak then the Coyotes do all season, it was a sure thing to pick the Leafs in this one. However, Arizona was the one to extend to their win streak, making it three in a row with a 4-1 win against the Leafs. Arizona has been awful this season, but are on a roll sweeping the Eastern Canadian swing, reminding us all in the process that this team can be good when all their early first round picks are playing together as a team. One of the many first rounders is Clayton Keller who stole the show Monday night with a pair of assists. Keller is leading the NHL rookie race early in the season, generated scoring chances and was super fun to watch when he had the puck last night. Brandon Perlini snapped Frederik Andersen’s shutout streak at 141:28 on the power play, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson was the other Coyote to beat Andersen, also on the power play. The Leafs lone goal sorcerer was James Van Riemsdyk for his 11th on the season, and 5th goal in as many games. The Leafs thought they had tied the game at two when Auston Matthews fired one past Raanta. Coyotes challenged the call for goalie interference and won, as Zach Hyman appeared to have speared the net minder, preventing him to make the save on Matthews. Judging from the replay, it looked like Raanta had enough time to get up and get into position but the referees thought otherwise and it turned out to be the deciding goal in this game.

Performance of the Night:

Well other than Raanta’s performance on the disallowed goal, the performance of the night goes to the Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen. Despite his shutout streak being snapped, Andersen was key for the Leafs to stay in this game. He made the ridiculous save on Dvorak when the Coyotes was laying on the pressure. I chalk this game up to being a fluke game that is not telling of Andersen’s past performance. He looked calm and in position most of the light and will continue to be a force in the coming games.

 

Make sure you buy your tickets to the next PucksTalksLive event, on December 13th at Rivoli in Toronto. Guest include Pierre Lebrun, James Duthie and James Mirtle. For more information and to buy your tickets visit Homestandsports.com

Game #22- Arizona Coyotes vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston+Matthews+Arizona+Coyotes+v+Toronto+PKt_WoFssvXl.jpg

Spencer Lussier

The Toronto Maple Leafs come back home winners of six straight to take on the Arizona Coyotes. The Leafs made it look easy against the Montreal Canadiens with a 6-0 win on Saturday led by the returning Auston Matthews, scoring two goals. Tonight, the Scottsdale, Arizona native will square off against his childhood team with Matthews recording two points in two games against Arizona last season. The Coyotes come into this game winners of two straight, beating both Montreal and Ottawa, and are hoping they can find some magic to beat the remaining Eastern Canadian team. Frederik Andersen is on a bit of a streak himself, having back-to-back shutouts in his last two starts and will look to extend that further tonight against the third lowest scoring team in the league. Toronto’s goaltending has been unreal during their six-game winning stretch and were the biggest factor for the team’s success without Auston Matthews in the lineup.

Player to Watch on Arizona:

It has to be rookie Clayton Keller. The 19-year-old is the early season favourite to be Auston Matthews successor as  the Calder Trophy winner. Keller is a smaller player but is really quick with the puck and is shifty in the offensive zone. Keller is Arizona’s points leader with 18 while leading the team in goals with 11, five more than anyone else on Arizona. Honestly check this kid out because he is certainly fun to watch and will be for a very long time.

Watchability scale:

I will give this game a two out of five on the scale. The reason why is that despite the good young talent on both teams, the game shouldn’t be competitive. With Toronto having their full offensive arsenal back and Arizona missing two key defencemen with Hjalmarsson and Chychrun out with injuries, Toronto’s offence should pile on the goals. As I mention too, Andersen has been lights out in November.  

Lines:

Toronto

Hyman – Matthews – Nylander

Marleau – Kadri – Komarov

JVR – Bozak – Marner

Martin – Moore – Brown

Rielly – Hainsey

Gardiner – Zaitsev

Borgman – Carrick

Andersen

 

Arizona

Perlini – Stepan – Rieder

Keller – Richardson – Fischer

Domi – Dvorak – Rinaldo

Martinook – Cousins – Duclair

Ekman-Larsson – Demers

Goligoski – Hanley

Connauton – Schenn

Raanta

Leafs dominate Habs in 6-0 thrashing

Zack Cook For 30 minutes, it looked as though Toronto and Montreal were headed towards another scoreless game, much like the one vs. the Devils on Thursday. A Ron Hainsey point shot and Nazem Kadri nifty back hand changed that. Both goals were less than a minute apart, and that was all the scoring the Leafs would need against the fragile Montreal Canadiens. Instead though, they'd add four more in the third and thump the Habs 6-0.  The Leafs got their superstar back in the lineup for this one, and Auston Matthews certainly didn't disappoint. Matthews tallied a pair of goals and looked relatively himself again in the victory.  The key to the Leafs six game win streak starts and ends with Freddie Andersen. Andersen has been fantastic over this six game stretch and it really provides insight as to how good this Leafs team can be if he continues to perform like this.  Before the game, we talked about how this game was the perfect recipe for a Saturday night. Well as long as you're a Leaf fan, it probably did turn out to be a 4/5 on the watchability scale. The Leafs came to play offensively and were certainly opportunistic. Most of their scoring changes come from high danger areas, and that really goes to show you how offensively gifted this young team is. If the Leafs can add a top pairing puck moving defenseman, look out rest of the National Hockey League.  Up next: Arizona Coyotes vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Monday @7PM ET  

Zack Cook

For 30 minutes, it looked as though Toronto and Montreal were headed towards another scoreless game, much like the one vs. the Devils on Thursday. A Ron Hainsey point shot and Nazem Kadri nifty back hand changed that. Both goals were less than a minute apart, and that was all the scoring the Leafs would need against the fragile Montreal Canadiens. Instead though, they'd add four more in the third and thump the Habs 6-0. 

The Leafs got their superstar back in the lineup for this one, and Auston Matthews certainly didn't disappoint. Matthews tallied a pair of goals and looked relatively himself again in the victory. 

The key to the Leafs six game win streak starts and ends with Freddie Andersen. Andersen has been fantastic over this six game stretch and it really provides insight as to how good this Leafs team can be if he continues to perform like this. 

Before the game, we talked about how this game was the perfect recipe for a Saturday night. Well as long as you're a Leaf fan, it probably did turn out to be a 4/5 on the watchability scale. The Leafs came to play offensively and were certainly opportunistic. Most of their scoring changes come from high danger areas, and that really goes to show you how offensively gifted this young team is. If the Leafs can add a top pairing puck moving defenseman, look out rest of the National Hockey League. 

Up next: Arizona Coyotes vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Monday @7PM ET

 

Game 21: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens

Zack Cook The Toronto Maple Leafs have gone 4-0 without Auston Matthews in the lineup but it looks like they'll be getting some reinforcements tonight against the Habs. Matthews is listed as a game time decision but all signs point to Toronto's superstar returning to the lineup.  Without Matthews, the Leafs have relied heavily on their offensive depth, and as of late, Freddie Andersen. Since Matthews injury, Andersen has been exactly the type of goalie that the Leafs have been looking for. Issues will continue to be there on the back end, but Andersen has done a good job masking that over the past five games.  Who to watch on Montreal Jonathan Drouin has showed Canadiens fans what it's like to have a skilled number one center again. Drouin has been the best Canadiens forward this season, and look for him to play a big role in tonight's original six Hockey Night in Canada showdown. Alex Galchenyuk has quietly played better as of late. He always seems to get up for games against the Leafs so keep an eye on him.  Watchability level It's the Leafs, it's the Habs, and it's Saturday. What more could you ask for in a combination of good things? Order yourself some pizza and wings, pick up a six pack, grab some couch and enjoy this historic rivalry. Even without Carey Price dressing for the Habs, these two teams always seem to provide entertaining games when they meet. There is nothing quite like the atmosphere in the Bell Centre when these two clubs meet, Leaf fans travel down the 401 and it always ends up being a loud back and forth "GO Habs GO" and "GO Leafs GO" between the fan bases. Seriously, there's nothing like it, these are the kind of match up's hockey fans live for. Watch this one, you won't want to miss it, I'm giving it a 4/5 stars on the watchability scale.  Leafs Lines Hyman-Matthews-Nylander Marleau-Kadri-Komarov van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Marner Martin-Moore-Brown Rielly-Hainsey Gardiner-Zaitsev Borgman-Carrick Andersen Habs Lines Pacioretty-Danault-Shaw Galchenyuk-Drouin-Byron Hudon-Plekanec-Gallagher Deslauriers-De La Rose-Froese Benn-Weber Alzner-Petry Mete-Morrow Lindgren

Zack Cook

The Toronto Maple Leafs have gone 4-0 without Auston Matthews in the lineup but it looks like they'll be getting some reinforcements tonight against the Habs. Matthews is listed as a game time decision but all signs point to Toronto's superstar returning to the lineup. 

Without Matthews, the Leafs have relied heavily on their offensive depth, and as of late, Freddie Andersen. Since Matthews injury, Andersen has been exactly the type of goalie that the Leafs have been looking for. Issues will continue to be there on the back end, but Andersen has done a good job masking that over the past five games. 

Who to watch on Montreal

Jonathan Drouin has showed Canadiens fans what it's like to have a skilled number one center again. Drouin has been the best Canadiens forward this season, and look for him to play a big role in tonight's original six Hockey Night in Canada showdown.

Alex Galchenyuk has quietly played better as of late. He always seems to get up for games against the Leafs so keep an eye on him. 

Watchability level

It's the Leafs, it's the Habs, and it's Saturday. What more could you ask for in a combination of good things? Order yourself some pizza and wings, pick up a six pack, grab some couch and enjoy this historic rivalry. Even without Carey Price dressing for the Habs, these two teams always seem to provide entertaining games when they meet. There is nothing quite like the atmosphere in the Bell Centre when these two clubs meet, Leaf fans travel down the 401 and it always ends up being a loud back and forth "GO Habs GO" and "GO Leafs GO" between the fan bases. Seriously, there's nothing like it, these are the kind of match up's hockey fans live for. Watch this one, you won't want to miss it, I'm giving it a 4/5 stars on the watchability scale. 

Leafs Lines

Hyman-Matthews-Nylander
Marleau-Kadri-Komarov
van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Marner
Martin-Moore-Brown

Rielly-Hainsey
Gardiner-Zaitsev
Borgman-Carrick

Andersen

Habs Lines

Pacioretty-Danault-Shaw
Galchenyuk-Drouin-Byron
Hudon-Plekanec-Gallagher
Deslauriers-De La Rose-Froese

Benn-Weber
Alzner-Petry
Mete-Morrow

Lindgren