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Spencer Lussier

Toronto are losers of three straight and have the chance to snap their recent losing skid with a date against the San Jose Sharks.

If history repeats itself than Toronto’s losing streak will continue, as San Jose has won the last ten meetings against Toronto, with goaltender Martin Jones winning the last seven. The Leafs dropped the first meeting 3-2 but only put eighteen shots towards Martin Jones.

The Sharks are one of the top defensive teams in the NHL, with a top five team goals against average and a top five penalty kill. Unlike years past, the offence is the weakest aspect of this Sharks team with no player over 27 points in the season and a goals for average at just under three goals a game. Basically, if the Sharks score three goals in a game they usually win.

The way the Leafs have been playing lately, it could play into San Jose’s favour. The Sharks still have a big, hard checking forward group, that creates a lot of pressure on the fore check. In recent games, the Leafs defence have coughed up pucks which have found its way past Frederik Andersen.

Player to watch for San Jose:

Logan Couture will be the player to watch for San Jose tonight. Couture made his return to the lineup on New Year’s eve after missing four games with a concussion. He has been shaky in his first game back, but he showed in his last game that he was getting his legs back to game action. Couture remains the most dangerous scorer on the Sharks, with 15 already for the team lead and should be one of the main focuses for the Leafs game plan tonight.

Watchability Scale:

Despite the Sharks winning the past ten matchups, I think this could be an even matchup between two teams who are in similar situations in the standings. Both teams matchup evenly, but the Leafs offence was buzzing against the Lightning D which I think will be the deciding factor. The Leafs offence has been contained for the last three games given their last performance, I think this game against the Sharks could be the start of something. I give this game a 3/5 with Team Canada’s Junior team taking away some of the viewership

Lines:

Toronto:   

Hyman - Matthews - Nylander

Marleau - Kadri - Komarov

JVR - Bozak - Marner

Martin - Gauthier - Brown

Reilly - Hainsey

Gardiner - Carrick

Borgman - Polak

Andersen

Sharks:

Meier - Thornton - Pavelski

Hertl - Couture - Donskoi

Boedker - Tierney - Labanc

Sorenson - Ward - Karlsson

Dillon - Burns

Vlasic - Braun

Ryan - Demelo

Jones