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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / USA TODAY Sports

LGD: In The Hutches Of The Predator

It’s Game Day!

Fresh off a 5-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, Michael Hutchinson’s Toronto Maple Leafs face a steeper challenge tonight as they welcome the Nashville Predators to Scotiabank Arena.

The Preds are in town for the only time this season. Nashville and Toronto have been neck-and-neck at the top of the league’s standings for most of the season, though the Leafs’ gap has widened of late. The Leafs sit second in the NHL, three points up on the Predators with a couple of games in hand to boot. Nashville has had a rough go of it recently, but have battled back from a stretch of six straight games without a win to win three of their last four.

Leafs Lines

LW C RW Forwards
Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN

Rating: 70.4#111 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 83.0#10 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 80.9#6 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.09#12 FL1
Andreas Johnsson
ANDREAS JOHNSSON

Rating: 74.3#38 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 84.4#6 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 75.0#38 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 77.88#3 FL2
Patrick Marleau
PATRICK MARLEAU

Rating: 72.5#75 LW

Nazem Kadri
NAZEM KADRI

Rating: 76.6#40 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 73.5#52 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 74.19#7 FL3
Par Lindholm
PAR LINDHOLM

Rating: 71.8#89 LW

Frederik Gauthier
FREDERIK GAUTHIER

Rating: 69.9#170 C

Trevor Moore
TREVOR MOORE

Rating: 73.7#48 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.77#5 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 80.0#4 LD

Ron Hainsey
RON HAINSEY

Rating: 72.5#44 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.25#10 DL1
Jake Gardiner
JAKE GARDINER

Rating: 77.3#10 LD

Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV

Rating: 70.8#78 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.02#12 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 73.7#41 LD

Igor Ozhiganov
IGOR OZHIGANOV

Rating: 71.7#61 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.67#10 DL3

Nothing changes here. There was some early speculation that Zach Hyman might make his return to the lineup, but it would seem he will remain sidelined. Hyman last played on December 18th.

Preds Lines

LW C RW Forwards
Calle Jarnkrok
CALLE JARNKROK

Rating: 73.0#79 LW

Ryan Johansen
RYAN JOHANSEN

Rating: 76.7#38 C

Viktor Arvidsson
VIKTOR ARVIDSSON

Rating: 79.6#14 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.42#19 FL1
Kevin Fiala
KEVIN FIALA

Rating: 76.0#28 LW

Colton Sissons
COLTON SISSONS

Rating: 73.4#68 C

Craig Smith
CRAIG SMITH

Rating: 75.0#37 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 74.82#9 FL2
Ryan Hartman
RYAN HARTMAN

Rating: 72.8#66 LW

Nick Bonino
NICK BONINO

Rating: 72.0#114 C

Austin Watson
AUSTIN WATSON

Rating: 71.5#92 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.07#18 FL3
Zac Rinaldo
ZAC RINALDO

Rating: 68.0#133 LW

Frederick Gaudreau
FREDERICK GAUDREAU

Rating: 70.2#161 C

Rocco Grimaldi
ROCCO GRIMALDI

Rating: 73.6#51 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.60#16 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Roman Josi
ROMAN JOSI

Rating: 81.6#1 LD

Ryan Ellis
RYAN ELLIS

Rating: 79.8#9 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 80.72#1 DL1
Dan Hamhuis
DAN HAMHUIS

Rating: 71.7#77 LD

Mattias Ekholm
MATTIAS EKHOLM

Rating: 78.2#8 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.95#6 DL2
Matt Irwin
MATT IRWIN

Rating: 71.5#83 LD

P.K. Subban
P.K. SUBBAN

Rating: 80.2#8 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 75.86#2 DL3

If you couldn’t guess, this Predators team isn’t exactly a scoring juggernaut – and injuries to Kyle Turris and Filip Forsberg aren’t helping the offensive side of things.

Still, the back end remains stupid good, and who ever said that Defense First was a bad thing?

Starting Goalies

In one corner, Michael Hutchinson. He’s an .879 on the season, but a .935 with a 1-1-0 record as a Toronto Maple Leaf. You choose which to put stock into.

In the other corner, Pekka Rinne is enjoying a strong season with a .919 save percentage. Not quite as good as Hutchinson during his Leafs tenure, but you can’t exactly fault the guy.

Notes

  • Tonight marks the first half of a back-to-back, with the Leafs on the road in New Jersey tomorrow. The goalie situation might get interesting.
  • Craig Smith is the Predators’ leading goal scorer, with 14 goals on the season. We live in a society.

Puck Drop is at 7pm ET on Sportsnet Ontario

 

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