Maple Leafs Look To Go 4-0 Against Avalanche
Tuesday nights tilt will also mark the first time Hockey Hall Of Famer Patrick Roy will be behind the bench against the Leafs. Thus far, Roy has been entertaining behind the bench, bringing the same passion and fire he brought to the rink.
Both the Maple Leafs and Avalanche play an open style of hockey, which should see both teams score their fair share of goals. Mason Raymond, James van Riemsdyk and David Bolland lead the way for the Maple Leafs with two goals apiece, while P.A. Parenteau and Jamie McGinn lead the way for the Avs with two goals each.
Between the pipes, Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle is expected to go with Jonathan Bernier while Roy is expected to stick with Semyon Varlamov.
Both Bernier (2-0-0, 0.64 GAA, .979 Sv%) and Varlamov (2-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .968 SV%) have been excellent this season, giving up a combined three goals in four games played.
The Maple Leafs will continue to deal with the loss of David Clarkson (suspension) and will also need to deal with the loss of defenseman Mark Fraser (Knee), forwards Nikolai Kulemin (Ankle) and Fraser McLaren (Injured Reserved). Forward Jay McClement is questionable for tonight’s tilt as his wife went into labour Tuesday morning.
Both defenseman Ryan Wilson (Knee) and forward Gabriel Landeskog (Leg) are expected to be back in the lineup for the Avalanche against the Leafs.
Overall, the Leafs match up well against the Avalanche, but the loss of Kulemin and the potential loss of McClement could be a huge blow to the Blue and White’s penalty kill. With that in mind, the Leafs would be wise to stay clear of any unnecessary penalties tonight.
Rookie defenseman Morgan Rielly played a total of 28 shifts (18:07 TOI) in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators Saturday night. Should Rielly (who was a minus-3 against the Sens) find his way back into the lineup Tuesday night, look for him to see less ice time and be on a short leash should he turn the puck over or make a critical error.
Thus far we have predicted three Maple Leaf wins and the Blue and White are yet to let us down. The Leafs will be missing some muscle tonight, but they have enough depth that they should be able to compete with the Avs. That said, Toronto has a penchant for blowing games they should win. Look for the Avs to play a disciplined game, taking advantage of their power play opportunities. Take the Avs, 3-2 in OT/SO.