The number one movie the last time the Leafs defeated the Canucks. Seriously.
So the Maple Leafs hit Game 60, going into the Olympic break, comfortably in a playoff position and with a chance to really take a big lead against a struggling opponent that’s just been devastated by injuries. Living out in Vancouver, you can’t throw a stone without hitting somebody that’s complaining in some respect about the Canucks (and believe me, I test this theory daily) and the theory out here is that the team is no longer a playoff team. It has some good fixtures on defence, but no game-breaking talents and too much cap space tied up to holdovers of the 2010-2011 team.
This represents the best chance for Toronto to beat Vancouver for the first time since November 24 2003, playing at home against a team at the bitter end of a losing road trip.
|Corsi Close %||51.7% (10th)||42.7% (29th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.23 (17th)||2.36 (11th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.19 (12th)||2.46 (22nd)|
|5v5 Diff/60||+0.04 (14th)||-0.11 (18th)|
|PDO||100.1 (14th)||101.7 (3rd)|
|5v4 GF/60||4.40 (26th)||7.91 (4th)|
|5v4 SF/60||57.6 (4th)||54.0 (7th)|
|4v5 GA/60||4.41 (3rd)||6.75 (22nd)|
|4v5 SA/60||40.3 (1st)||61.3 (30th)|
|Penalty Differential||-3 (16th)||-12 (23rd)|
To the Canucks’ credit, they’ve hung around in the top half of the league in puck-possession all season, though they’ve been about 50-50 since Henrik Sedin fell out of the lineup. They’ve had a marginally good record at goal differential at evens, but have been hurt by having a powerplay that’s either bad or unlucky, and I’m having a tough time determining which it is.
The Maple Leafs have shot up the rankings in GF/60, I’ve noticed. Right before the game against the New Jersey Devils that started the Leafs win streak, they’d fallen to 19th in goals at 2.12 per 60. They’ve since brought that up nearly a quarter of a goal, an impressive feat over such a short amount of games. However, they’re having just as much trouble preventing goals (2.43 GA/60 then as opposed to 2.46 GA/60 now). The key to the ‘turnaround’ has been the offence, in my estimation. I can’t find any evidence that defence or goaltending is driving this.
Chris Higgins – Ryan Kesler – Jannik Hansen
Daniel Sedin – Jordan Schroeder – Alex Burrows
David Booth – Brad Richardson – Zack Kassian
Tom Sestito – Zac Dalpe – Pascal Pelletier
Alex Edler – Raphael Diaz
Jason Garrison – Ryan Stanton
Yann Sauve – Frank Corrado
Ha. Yup.This is a legitimate preseason roster, although it is worth noting that Team Canada Olympian Dan Hamhuis is expected to be back in the lineup for this one. He was paired alongside Chris Tanev (since injured) for most of the season so we’ll see where he’s stuck.
The Maple Leafs are relatively healthy, with David Bolland the only key injured player, currently:
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul – Nazem Kadri – David Clarkson
Troy Bodie – Nik Kulemin – Mason Raymond
Frazer McLaren – Jay McClement
Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner – Cody Franson
Tim Gleason – Morgan Rielly
Randy Carlyle went with the ol’ 7 defencemen last time out, which is probably fine for this roster, but he’ll probably re-insert Colt Knorr with Tom Sestito on the other side. I wouldn’t think the Canucks are worth intimidating, though.
That should also give us a Roberto Luongo-Jonathan Bernier goaltending matchup. One is having a career year. One is having an average year by his standards. Guess which one is going to the Winter Olympics? (HINT: The one with the decidedly better career both domestically and internationally)
Anyway, note the early start time. The game starts at 6:00 Eastern. I’ll be here after the game (unlike last time) to post a quick recap where we can complain about any dives or cheap shots we saw during the game.