Who: Nashville Predators (10-9-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (13-7-1)
Where: Air Canada Centre (Toronto, ON)
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where to watch: Leafs TV, Fox SportSouth
Where to listen: Sportsnet 590 The Fan, 102.5 Game Radio Network
Enemy blog: Predlines
- The Leafs finally have something resembling a full lineup, although Tyler Bozak and Mark Fraser (and, of course, Dave Bolland) are still out with injuries. Kadri returns from his suspension and will be on the top line again. That line hasn’t been together since November 2, when Bolland’s injury forced the team to try the JvR Experiment at centre. With the acquisition of Peter Holland, the Leafs now have five natural centres in their lineup. Holland will anchor the third line tonight.
- Carter Ashton was sent down today to make room for Bozak returning, but apparently he still won’t be able to play. It will be interesting to see which centre will be sent down between Smith, Holland and Smithson when Bozak finally returns. My money is on Smithson, but then again, the Leafs might be hoping to limit Holland’s time with the big club because if he hits 25 games, the third-round pick they sent to Anaheim becomes a second rounder.
- Bernier will start for the fourth time in five games. If you want to call one of them the No. 1, it looks like it’s Bernier right now. Maybe this is just Carlyle giving Bernier a start against a team he shut out last time and has had a good history against, but I find it a little curious he hasn’t given more games to Reimer. We’ll see who gets the crease Saturday.
- In the other end, rookie Marek Mazanec will get his third straight start. The 22-year-old has been superb in his last two games, allowing two goals on 41 shots against the Chicago Blackhawks before shutting out the Detroit Red Wings. Nashville sure lives up to its reputation as a goaltending factory.
- After scoring only two goals in four previous games, the Predators’ offense exploded for seven against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks last Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see which offense shows up tonight.
- Prediction: The Leafs win 3-2 in overtime on a classic Kessel-to-JvR goal off the rush. Both goalies are playing great, although Bernier has the larger track record, obviously. Both teams have had their troubles scoring. I think it’ll be a tight game. What are your predictions? Please comment below to participate in the game thread.