The Toronto Maple Leafs will complete their third back-to-back of the season as they visit the Calgary Flames tonight. The Leafs are coming off a big 4-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers last night in which Phil Kessel had two goals and two assists and James Reimer made 43 saves for the shutout. Tonight’s game is the Leafs’ second in a three-game road trip through Western Canada, which culminates on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.
After going without a regulation loss in their first five games, the Flames have fallen back to earth recently, losing four of their last six. They are, however, coming off a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday, and will be well rested compared to the Leafs. Jiri Hudler leads the Flames’ attack with 13 points, while 19-year-old rookie centre Sean Monahan has 11. The Flames will be without their third-leading scorer and former Leaf Lee Stempniak, who has a broken foot. Mark Giordano, the Flames’ captain and leading scorer among defensemen, will be out six-to-eight weeks with a broken ankle. For more on the Flames, mosey on over to Flame for Thought.
I haven’t heard any lineup news from the morning skate at this point, but if or when I do, I’ll be sure to update the projected lines. Here’s how they look at the moment, via DailyFaceoff.com:
Sven Baertschi – Sean Monahan – Jiri Hudler
Shane O’Brien – Derek Smith
- Still no word on who will start tonight, but my guess would be Bernier, as Reimer played last night and faced a ton of shots. Bernier has a .937 save percentage in nine games this season.
- It was strange seeing Lupul on the third line alongside grinders McClement and Ashton last night, but it’s not really a big deal. It was Lupul’s first game back from injury, and he was a game-time decision. He still looked good, and that line was noticeable in their ability to keep possession of the puck in the Oilers’ zone. I’d expect Randy Carlyle to keep the lines as they were.
- Kessel is now tied for second in league scoring with 18 points. Kadri and van Riemsdyk are both tied for 20th with 12 points each. That line is really fun to watch.
- Neither one of the Flames’ goalies have played very well this season, but Ramo had a nice game in the win over the Capitals. I would expect him to get the nod again tonight.
- Colborne, the former Leaf who was traded for a fourth-round pick, has only three points in 10 games. Trevor Smith has been able to fill in as a centre on that fourth line and play pretty well, so the Colborne loss hasn’t really hurt the Leafs. Colborne will get to play with some pretty good linemates in Cammalleri and Galiardi as he looks to break out of his funk tonight.
- Be sure to join us tonight for the game thread. The action gets underway at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast nationwide on TSN.