Allllright. I’m finally back on top of my life, unfortunately the Leafs aren’t on top of their game, as evidenced by the pair of losses they served up this weekend in Buffalo and Ottawa. Thankfully, the Buds return home tonight, for their game against the Lightning. At the ACC, Toronto has put together a semi-respectable 6-4-2 record, while they have just been dismal on the road, going 2-7-1.
Jonas Gustavsson will get the start again, although Jean-Sebastian Giguere came out today and announced that he was “physically ready” to play, according to the Toronto Star. Up front, Ron Wilson moved Nazem Kadri up to the top line, where he skated between Phil Kessel and Clarke MacArthur, the Leafs’ top two scorers. Bozak was dropped to the third line with Versteeg and Sjostrom, although it’s unclear who will skate on the second line tonight, since Luca Caputi, who had skated with Kooley and Grabbo, was demoted to the AHL yesterday. Joey Crabb was called up today, and I suppose he’ll be expected to play on the second line, but he’s never really been an offensive force. He did have the best offensive season of his career last year, notching 24 goals and 53 points with the Chicago Wolves, and has 12 points through the first 23 games of this season.
The Bolts come to town after losing their last two games, although the two losses come after a five game win streak. Steven Stamkos currently leads the league and the team in goals with 21, while Martin St. Louis currently ranks 5th among NHL scorers with 29 points, and leads the Lightning with 21 assists. While the Bolts’ offense is on fire, their defense leaves much to be desired, as Tampa Bay currently ranks 29th in goals against, allowing an average 3.2 goals per game. The Leafs’ anemic offense could certainly use a matchup against a weak defensive club, but in order to take advantage of it, they’ll need to stay out of the box, and avoid setting up the Steven Stamkos automatic one-timer.