Game #16 Preview - Blues vs Leafs
Having lost back to back games for the first time this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs (9-5-1) are looking to get back on the right track tonight as they take on their old Norris division rival the St. Louis Blues (7-7-0). The Blues are coming off of a solid 3-0 beat down of the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. Having replaced the fired Davis Payne with Ken Hitchcock earlier this week, the underachieving Blues will be looking to play well for their new coach. Having not seen much of St. Louis in recent years, fans should expect to see a really tough and aggressive team tonight. With players such as David Backes, T.J Oshie and Chris Stewart the Leafs will need to focus on keeping the area in front of the net clear tonight. Former Canadien Jaro Halak will start for the Blues tonight as he looks to extend his shutout streak.
The Leafs will have Ben Scrivens in net tonight attempting to fight through those big Blues forwards. Scrivens will get his third start of the season, and many Leafs fans (including my own) hopes for this season lie with the former Cornell keeper. As mentioned above the Leafs have lost their last two games having been outscored 12-1. Patience has seemingly ended with Jonas Gustavsson, and with James Reimer still on the sidelines, Scrivens will be the man for the foreseeable future. As mentioned here, the Leafs will need their leadership core to carry the mail during this rough stretch. Dion Phaneuf has already gone on the record as saying that the entire team needs to tighten up in front of whoever is in between the pipes. Following a closed door meeting yesterday, look for the Leafs to come out flying tonight in the show me state.
Lupul - Bozak - Kessel
Kulemin - Grabovski - MacArthur
Frattin - Lombardi - Steckel
Brown - Dupuis - Crabb
Gunnarsson - Phaneuf
Liles - Komisarek
Gardiner - Schenn
Sobotka - Backes - Oshie
D'Agostini - Berglund - Stewart
Steen - Arnott - Langenbrunner
Grachev - Nichol - Reaves
Coliacovo - Pietrangelo
Jackman - Shattenkirk
Cole - Polak
Players to Watch
Leafs: Nikolai Kulemin - The Leafs need Kulemin to re-discover his scoring touch. The Russian tank had some glorious chances against the Panthers, and is seemingly on the verge of breaking out. Leafs fans are hoping tonight is the night.
Blues: Chris Stewart - A prototypical power forward. Stewart scored against the Hawks in the Blues' last game. He has the skills to punish the Leafs 5-5 and on the power play.
Game Time: 8:00 at the Scottrade Centre. TV - TSN. Radio - AM640.