LGD: Hurricane Matthews

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes face off in a Tuesday night showdown at the Air Canada Centre. This has the components of an interesting game; here’s what you can expect to go down.

The Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

Basically the same combos as the last few games. Babs is really locked in, which in some cases (Smith, Hunlak) is a little confusing, but it’s hard to complain about the other two defensive pairings and the Top 9 right now.

The Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

The Hurricanes have a really interesting team moving forward. Players like Hanifin, Rask, and Lindholm have been big name prospects for a decent amount of time now, Sebastian Aho’s hype train has blown up over the past year, and it’s not like Jeff Skinner and Teuvo Teravainen can’t help things along. I also find it hilarious that 

Starting Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen starts in goal for the Leafs. Not surprising; he’s been on a roll of late. He once again looked good against the Habs and with a few nights off, should be well-rested enough to have another go at things today. Saturday’s performance brings him closer to the league average in save percentage after his horrible start; 0.908 over 16 games is pretty decent with all things considered.

Cam Ward is in goal for the Hurricanes today. It’s been a while since the Saskatoon native has been “actually good”; 2011/12 was the last time he even put up average numbers, but he’s been less-than-terrible this year and has decidedly taken the wheel from Eddie Lack, who is struggling once again.

What To Look Out For

I never have much time to say positive things about the Hunwick-Polak pairing, but I really do wonder how they approach tonight’s game. Carolina is the definition of a neutral zone team, who rely on controlled carries to establish an offensive presence. Neither of those two are the type to try to suffocate the play at centre and will wait for it to come to them; that might mean they bleed out a bit more than usual tonight. The same goes for the fourth line; guys like Martin and Smith will have to rely on positioning rather than attempting to gain the puck off a hit during a dump-and-chase.

Also, Auston is ending the streak tonight. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM. You can catch the game on TSN.

  • Stan Smith

    I will probably get crapped all over for mentioning this but does anyone else notice that Matthews seems a little soft. I realize (and sometimes forget) that he is only 19 years old but so is Marner, and Marner doesn’t seem to have any problems mixing it up in an effort to get the puck. It seems to me that Matthews doesn’t follow through with his checks in any zone. He will wave his stick at the opposing player with the puck, but then inevitably end up turning and chasing. He uses his big body well when he has the puck, but seems to forget he has it when he doesn’t. Even Nylander goes after the puck harder than Matthews does.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      It is forbidden to criticize Matthews. Stick to the story line we hear every day, that Polak and Hunwick are not good enough to play NHL.

      Actually my brother LukeWarmWater (The west coast flash ) mentioned it a while back. I think my response then was he has been told all his life to keep away from the rough stuff. No one wants him injured or sitting in the penalty box. He is good at stick-checking though, sometimes the better option is to play the body. I think for him it is either a learning experience or he is a little soft, like you say.

      • LukeWarmWater

        Brother Luke I’m not as fast as I once was but I’m still a flashy dresser. I think you nailed it, he has to learn to take the body, to take a hit and get in the gritty area in front of the net. But he is indeed young and will learn.

        I have been having insomnia problems lately but I got to thank the Hurricanes who similar to Montreal on Saturday get the lead and then play a 5 guys at the line game which is guaranteed to put anyone asleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • Hardy

    3 former leafs. wonder in what order theyre all going to score? my bet is McClement, Stalberg, Stempniak

    and gleason is going to challenge and overturn Matthews goal just cuz

    • LukeWarmWater

      You batted one for three which was 30 points higher than any Blue Jay as that future Hall of Famer Victor the stallion Stalberg scored on a set up from Bozak. A nice short handed goal. Andersen has played well in the past several weeks but I don’t feel confident that he will come up with an absolutely must save. Mind you that goal was scored with 26 minutes left in the game and the Hurricanes played to perfection the European soccer bore the hell out of the home fans game by playing a trap style as did the Habs last Saturday night. that is highly effective and truly ranks up there with watching the blue socks battle the red socks in the dryer. Yesiree the last two games the leaf opponents have 4 goals the leafs 2 now that is 2016 entertaining hockey NOT.