Toronto Maple Leafs Stack Top Line as Freddie Andersen Makes Return

The Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Dallas Stars tonight.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won on Tuesday against the Coyotes, and newly acquired back-up goalie Jack Campbell went 2-0-1 in his first three games with his new team.

When you consider that two of those games were less than 24 hours apart and featured a day of travel, while all three of them featured a flu-ravaged team missing three or four players, that record is  a testament, not only to Campbell’s excellent play, but the team’s heart and determination in general.

Campbell has played great, but there’s no subsitute for a healthy Freddie Andersen, who will make his return to the lineup after injuring his neck last Monday against the Panthers.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Dallas

Besides Andersen’s return, the Leafs have  placed Michael Hutchinson on waivers.  The Leafs could use the depth, so hopefully he clears and go play in the AHL with the Marlies as they battle for the playoffs.

Last game coach Sheldon Keefe did something interesting – he loaded up his top line with Nylander on left wing, along with Matthews and Marner.

They didn’t live up to their potential against the Coyotes – but Nylander was just coming off a week of being sick enough to miss games, and so they’ll give it another shot tonight.

I like the idea of loading up one line because most team’s can’t hope to counter it.  The Bruins  do this with their three best players, and it’s the best line in the NHL.

The Leafs version of this has the potential to be just as good, if not better.   Previously in the year, Tampa tried to compensate for the fact that the Leafs could run two first lines, by loading up with Point, Stamkos and Kucherov.  It was very successful and Babcock didn’t try to counter it.

Against most teams, I think the Toronto Maple Leafs will revert back to having two first lines that each feature two elite players, but it is smart to play a few games like this so that they can do it when it’s called for.

As for Dallas, They are tenth overall and have one more point than the Leafs.   Dallas is the tenth best team overall, but they have the 4th best 5v5 goaltending.  This indicates that they’re an average team being propped up by unsustainable goaltending.

The Leafs on the other hand, have virtually the same record, but are getting the 22nd best goaltending.  Any time a team is outperforming it’s goalie, it’s a great indication for the future.

Next: Leafs Top Ten Prospects

A win tonight would give the Leaf points in four straight with two soft games coming up next against Ottawa and Buffalo.

 

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