Picture obtained from: http://canucks.nhl.com/
Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Vancouver Canucks. It’s a Canadian HNIC in Toronto (well, it’s in Vancouver, but you know what I mean). This game will be a very interesting one, as Kyle Wellwood plays his first game against his former club.
Team Records: Toronto: 7-6-4-18 pts.
Vancouver: 9-6-1-19 pts.
As of right now the Leafs sit in eighth in the east, where as the Canucks are sixth in the west. However the two are only separated by one single point and for years it has been said the west is the better Conference (mainly because the one a majority of the last few Stanley cups). The Leafs have not been playing very well over the last few games. They seem to the only team that can’t beat the Flames 6-1 this week.
The Canucks will look to rebound from a 2-1 OT loss to Colorado, which snapped a 3 game winning streak. With Kyle Wellwood as their leading goal scorer (trailing far behind in points), the Leafs will be the one team that can shut him down. Many Leaf players knew him for years.
Breaking it down in all aspects of the game the one place it looks tight is behind-that doesn’t sound right—in goal, Roberto Loungo and Vesa Toskala. It took a few years for Toskala to prove himself as a No. 1 man; he spent a few years behind Evgeni Nabokov in San Jose.
He is one of the best goaltenders Toronto has ever seen (and lets not forget, the leafs have seen some great guys). On the other end of the pond there is Luongo, he had established that he was a No. 1 long before coming to Vancouver. With that in mind, don’t expect a high scoring game.
Toronto’s unexpected offense this season has thus far come from very few guys. They are mainly Mikhail Grabovski, Nik Hagman and Nik Antropov. To say this was expected at the beginning of the year would be...well, spot on, expectations are always high in Leaf land. However, with only nine points last year, Grabovski production has been outstanding.
As for Vancouver, the Sedin brothers have played well so far this season and power the team. Kesler, Burrows, Bernier and Raymond have been great for them this year. Aside from the obvious, they have had a few defensemen chip in for a few goals, something the Leafs have not had so far.
Game Expectation and Projected Score
Low scoring game, will be fast paced and full of excitement every minute.
Pick: 3-2, Vancouver