The Toronto Maple Leafs come into tonight’s tilt after a demoralizing loss to the Winnipeg Jets in OT. They are hoping to avoid their fifth 3-game losing streak of the season, with their first meeting of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa Bay Lightning (31-16-5) @ Toronto Maple Leafs (27-21-5)
Start Time: 7:00 pm
TV Channel: TSN
Live Stream: None
3 Keys to Victory
Shots Against: The Toronto Maple Leafs rank dead last in the NHL for shots against, at 36 per game. If they can manage to drop that number under 30 today, they will be in line for a victory, as less shots will mean the Leafs have the puck possession advantage while also giving their goaltending a break.
Phil Kessel: Tied for 7th in the NHL in scoring, Kessel is the engine that moves the Leafs. His ability to score from anywhere is such a huge boon to a team that doesn’t really have any other surefire offensive weapons. The Lightning are potent offensively, and it will be up to Kessel to edge that category to the Leafs favour.
Goaltending: Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer haven’t had the best month. When the Toronto Maple Leafs started the new year off with 4 straight losses, including a pair of blowouts, I was convinced coach Randy Carlyle would be fired. Instead, the attention has fallen on his two goalies, who have been making it a habit of being pulled from games. This is directly connected to the defense, which as I said above, gives up way too many shots.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking up at the Tampa Bay Lightning in the standings, which if you are just joining us, is pretty shocking. With the Lightning’s best player in Steven Stamkos out, the Lightning have performed incredibly well.
I have to hope that the Leafs will bounce back after their tough loss and bring the game to the Lightning. With that said, I think the Lightning pull out a close one, with Martin St. Louis notching 2 goals and taking home 1st star honours.
Final Score: TOR 2 – 3 TAM