Game Preview #18 - Leafs vs Coyotes
The Toronto Maple Leafs (10-6-1) will attempt to right the ship tonight against the always consistent Phoenix Coyotes (8-4-3). The Coyotes play a strong defensive minded supplemented by an opportunistic counter attack. In their previous meeting last season the Coyotes completely dominated Toronto in a 5-1 victory. Phoenix has been riding hot goaltender Mike Smith all season. The former Star and Lightning back up has had a breakout season so far with a stellar 2.22 GAA and .931 Save pct. Two weeks ago the Leafs were lucky enough to face two struggling goalies in Martin Brodeur and Steve Mason. This week they're going to face two red hot tenders in Smith and Pekke Rinne, hopefully the buds' struggling offense can get it in gear.
The Leafs are expected to dress the same lineup tonight as Tim Connolly will not make his return until Thursday night in Nashville. Ben Scrivens will start his third straight game, and deservedly so. The Leafs were once again yelled at before practice following Saturday's tough loss. Look for them to have a strong first period. The Leafs need a solid 60 minute effort tonight against a tough Western Conference opponent.
Lupul - Bozak - Kessel
Kulemin - Grabovski - MacArthur
Steckel - Lombardi - Frattin
Brown - Dupuis - Crabb
Gunnarsson - Phaneuf
Liles - Komisarek
Gardiner - Schenn
Whitney – Hanzal – Vrbata
Korpikoski – Gordon – Doan
Pyatt – O'Reilly – Boedker
Torres – Chipchura – O'Sullivan
Yandle – Morris
Ekman-Larsson – Aucoin
Schlemko – Klesla
Players to Watch
Leafs: Luke Schenn - Young Luke has been coming around of late, and both his physical play and his ice time have improved. Toronto's defense has been suspect all season, and an in form Schenn will certainly shore that area up. Hopefully his upward progression continues tonight.
Coyotes: Raffi Torres - The Leafs have had problems with stocky, aggressive players so far this year, namely David Clarkson, Nick Foligno and Travis Moen. Torres can hit and has scored in the past versus the blue and white. I'm sure the hometown boy will be looking to make an impact tonight.
Game Time: 7:00 at the Air Canada Centre. TV - Sportsnet Ontario. RadioAM640.