Tonight the Anaheim Ducks begin a stretch of four games in six days when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town. The Leafs last played on Saturday night (Hockey Night in Canada) and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in over time with former Ducks and former Flyer Joffrey Lupul scoring the game-winner. The Ducks are coming off two shootout losses last week with the more recent one against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Last Matchup: 4-2 (October 27, 2013)
In the only match up with the Leafs this season, the Ducks saw a seven-game win streak come to an end. The Ducks got out to a 2-0 lead, but the Leafs scored the next four. Phil Kessel had a hat-trick, shocker. The game changed when the Ducks were unable to score on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period. So, of course a few minutes after that ended, the Leafs scored to take the lead.
Keys to the Game:
- : Their offense revolves around speed, so they need to get speed through the neutral zone.
- : They allow the second most third period goals in the league, so they need to learn to shut it down late in the game.
- : They have done a good job all season of ending games before overtime and a shootout, but have had to end a game in a shootout the last two games. Get it done in regulation boys.
- : Clog up the neutral zone to battle Toronto’s speed.
Players to Watch:
- – C – Tyler Bozak: Not only is he one of the best face off guys in the league, he’s one of the most skilled two-way centers as well. He also has seven points in his last six games.
- – C – Nazem Kadri: The young gun has scored in two straight games and brings a lot of energy to his team.
- – C – Ryan Getzlaf: Much like he has all season long, in the last couple games Getzy has lead the team offensively, tallying six points in the last five games.
- – RW – Corey Perry: Is it getting annoying of mentioning these two guys first?…………………Nope. He’s got five points in the last three games.
You can tell that the Leafs are coached by Randy Carlyle. Their physical and they rely on their top six forwards for a lot of their offense. More specifically, the line of James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel. Kessel’s having an incredible season and his combination of speed and skill make him a dangerous player every time hes on the ice. Add size and that gives you JVR. He’s found a home in Toronto and he’s breaking out in a big way this season. And don’t forget that youngster Peter Holland is making his return to Anaheim since being traded to the Leafs earlier in the year. Dion Phaneuf has been his normal self this season. Dishing out some big hits and the occasional point or two. But, I’d like to talk about two of their younger d-men real quick. Both Jake Gardiner and rookie Morgan Rielly were noticeable players in the Leafs game against the Flyers on saturday. Their both very mobile and can handle the puck very well. It’s very important for the Ducks to clog up the neutral zone. I’ve already mentioned twice how the speed of Toronto can be a killer and they can get many scoring opportunities because of that speed. Lately, the Ducks have been getting a hell of a lot of shots on goal and the Leafs allow a hell of a lot of shots on goal. But, they have two goalies in Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer that they can rely on to keep them in games.
I’m hoping for a fast-paced, energetic game tonight. Should be an exciting one.
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