It’s Hockey Night In Canada, meaning the Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action in their usual 7 p.m. time slot on CBC. However, this isn’t any average Saturday night game. The Leafs are in Vancouver, taking on a Canucks team they haven’t faced since February of 2012. It’s also Pavel Bure night in Van City, as they’ll be retiring his number-10 jersey to the Rogers Arena rafters.
The Leafs are finishing off a three-game road trip through Western Canada, and are perfect on the trip so far, going 2-0 against the two Alberta teams. Tonight, however, they face a much stiffer test. The Canucks have a slightly worse record than the Leafs (9-5-1 compared to 10-4-0), but have done so in the far more difficult Pacific division, and have still won four of their last five games.
The dangerous trio of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler leads the team; along with a stacked blue-line that includes Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa; while veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo is still going strong. For more on both team’s lineups, check out our game preview.
As for the Leafs, tonight they’ll get Nikolai Kulemin back in their forward ranks. Kulemin’s addition comes at a great time with Carter Ashton being suspended for this game and the next. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Twitter to see whom he’ll be lining up with in the pre-game line rushes.
With less than half an hour until game time, please join us for the game thread in the comments below. What are your predictions? I’ll get things started off: The Leafs will win this one 3-2 in a shootout, with the winner courtesy a spin-o-rama goal by former Canuck Mason Raymond.
GO LEAFS GO!