Date: Thursday October 10, 2013
Puck Drop: 7:00pm
TV Channel: LeafsTV
The Toronto Maple Leafs make their first trip to the Western Conference since 2011/2012 as they head to Smashville to take on Shea Weber and the Predators.
For the second straight game the Maple Leafs will be facing a highly touted teenage rookie, this time it’s Seth Jones they will have to contend with. Jones has had a quality start to his rookie campaign, averaging over 23 minutes a game while playing alongside perennial Norris candidate Shea Weber.
The Maple Leafs are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season which came at the hands of the surprising Colorado Avalanche. Despite the fact that the Leafs managed to put together one of their more solid and consistent efforts of the season (aside from that one brutal power play), many in Leaf nation stupidly overreacted to the “style” the team played *cough*Cox*cough*.
Although he was handed his first loss of the season, Jonathan Bernier continued his brilliant early season play. At the time of posting a starting goalie had not yet been announced, but I would not be surprised to see the “rotation” ending earlier than expected with Bernier being given his second consecutive start.
On the other hand, while James Reimer was pulled in his last start, he wasn’t bad per say, just not great, so it would not be a surprise to see Carlyle go back to Reimer to see how he responds to Bernier’s challenge for the starting job.
The Leafs line up will prove interesting, with 3 new call ups joining the Leafs on the road. There is rampant speculation that either Paul Ranger or Jake Gardiner will be scratched in favour of TJ Brennan, who has been off to a hot start with the Marlies.
Joffrey Lupul‘s status for the game is unknown after he bruised his calf in a collision on Tuesday night, while the injury isn’t significant, it could keep him out of the line up which is bad news for the Leafs top 3 forward lines which already include Colton Orr *barfs*.
After seeing just 13 minutes of ice time in Tuesday’s loss to the Avalanche, Nazem Kadri is hoping to get out of Randy Carlyle‘s dog house. While his long-term spot is at centre, if Lupul can’t go I wouldn’t be opposed to Kadri sliding into his spot on the wing on the second line in hopes of maintaining some semblance of offensive effectiveness.
The Leafs depleted forwards corps can’t get anything going with Jones and Weber manning the blue line and Pekka Rinne doing his thing in net, falling 1-0 and inciting panic across the GTA.