Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Game Number 18): Live Game Thread

Welcome to the game thread! This is where we yell at our televisions and then comment about it to release our frustrations. Remember, this is a Leafs blog, so we do that a lot here. You’ve been warned.

The Leafs face off against the Minnesota Wild for the second time this year. The Wild are playing some real good hockey as of late…well, in truth, they’ve been playing good hockey all year, as they’ve become one of the best possession teams in the league after an organizational shift in strategy. It helps that they picked up a pretty solid veteran in Jason Pominville late last year, and youngsters Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle have stepped up to round out a pretty dangerous top-six forward group.

Niklas Backstrom will get his first start of the year since late October, as he’s been out with injury. Backstrom has only played four games this year and owns an underwhelming .871 save percentage (small sample sizes and all that). If the Leafs can get a good start for once and pelt a bunch of rubber at Backstrom early (it can happen!), they could be able to get him off his game.

My prediction for this game is…the Leafs will lose. 3-1. I don’t like the way this team has been playing lately and the Wild are kind of the exact opposite, as they’ve been terrific. The only chance the Leafs have is if Jonathan Bernier can come up with 35+ saves and Backstrom looks rusty on the other end. What are your predictions?


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