The Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Blackhawks tonight in Toronto.
It is the Toronto Maple Leafs last game before a bi-week that will see them go ten days between games.
The Leafs will look for a win tonight to make sure they’ve taken advantage of a soft schedule leading in to the all-star break that saw them play six out of seven games at home.
The results haven’t been the best – two wins, two losses, two OT losses – but it’s hard to complain given how good the team has played in general. Especially doing it without Jake Muzzin (recently) Morgan Rielly
Sure, the Oilers and Florida games weren’t the best (though both games were wins if a goalie showed up for the Leafs), but both O.T losses probably should have been Leafs wins (the Jets game was one of their best defensive performances, and the Flames won because of their goalie).
All in all, if the Leafs keep playing as they have been, they’ll usually get better results, so no complaints are necessary.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Chicago
The Hawks have won three in a row, but are in fact one of the NHL’s worst teams.
Loaded down with ill-advised post-victory legacy contracts, the Blackhawks have made things worse by making two of the worst trades the NHL has seen in the last decade. (Panarin for Saad, and Teurovainen for nothing).
The Toronto Maple Leafs will go with Freddie Andersen, and the Blackhawks will presumably go with Corey Crawford.
The Leafs have assigned the newly healthy Trevor Moore to the Marlies and according to Kristen Shilton have “several game time decisions” to make tonight.
Perhaps this will mean the NHL debut of Timothy Liljegren. The dude has been called up 47 times and has yet to get into a game, so here’s hoping it happens.
Everyone talks about the Leafs needing to upgrade their defense, but I don’t think there’s another team in the NHL who has two NHL ready top prospects like Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin ready to step into the lineup.
While I’ll happily welcome the presence of an elite addition to the blue-line, the Leafs really don’t need any upgrades.
Muzzin, Rielly, Barrie and Holl make up a solid, near-the-best-in-the-NHL top four, while Dermott is perhaps the best #5 in the whole league. I don’t care for Cody Ceci, but he’s solid (if overpaid) as a #6 who kills penalties.
You can upgrade him with either player on the Marlies, so I have to say I’m pretty happy with the part of the team perceived to be the weakest.
If the Leafs do make a major move, I’d much rather see them go after a power-forward like Chris Krieder than a defenseman (again, barring the addition of something crazy like Ryan Ellis).
Anyways, should be a fun game tonight, and the break will be interesting as it leads into the trade deadline.