Date/Time: Tuesday, October 9th 2018 @8:30pm
Toronto : 2-1-0 for 4 points
Dallas: 2-0-0 for 4 points
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars setup for their lone meeting of the season tonight in Dallas. Toronto has won both of their games in overtime this season with a collective goal total through 3 games of 13. Their latest game being a freewheeling 7-6 overtime win against the Blackhawks Sunday night, with John Tavares scoring his seventh hat trick of his career and his first with Toronto since signing. The Leafs recognize there is still a lot of defensive tightening up to be done and they can play a much better game. Look for Kasperi Kapanen to be a key in tonight’s game, as he has been the only player other than Tavares, Marner and Matthews to show up consistently this season even in limited minutes, and when he was bumped up to play with Matthews and Marleau he had a goal and an assist. His ability to play into the corners and speed will be crucial.
While Dallas comes into the game only giving up 1 goal in 2 games, after their convincing win of the Jets 5-1 at home and shutout of the Coyotes 3-0. First year Coach Jim Montgomery has started his career well in Dallas so far. The defence looks better and the offence looks to be clicking, on top of Ben Bishop holding a .50 GAA, Still coach Montgomery is trying to push his team to improve game by game and concentrate on the details. More reinforcements could be coming for Dallas as well, Valeri Nichushkin is could draw into the lineup after being on the injured reserve for the past 2 games.
The big story of this game though will be defenseman Connor Carrick’s first game against his old team in Toronto. Carrick played 130 of his 160 NHL games in Toronto, but really feels that the change of scenery has helped him. Since joining the Stars, Carrick has 3 assists in 2 games.
Top Scorers/Goalie Matchup
Matthews – 8 points (5 goals 3 assists) 52% on Face-offs
Rielly – 6 points (2 goals 4 assists)
Tavares – 4 points (4 goals) 51% on face-offs
1-1-0 3.05GAA .898SV%
Benn – 5 points (2 goals 3 assists)
Seguin & Radulov – 4 points (2 goals 2 assists)
Carrick – 3 points (3 assists)
2-0-0 0.50GAA .984SV% & 1 SO
Lineups & Injuries
Rielly – Hainsey
Gardiner – Zaitsev
Dermott – Marincin
Odd men out – Ozhiganov and Holl
Kapanen –Matthews – Marleau
Marner – Tavares– Hyman
Ennis – Kadri – Brown
Johnsson – Lindholm – Leivo
4 Keys to Winning in Dallas:
- Babcock talked about Kapanen on Sunday during the press conference and stated that if.. “Kapanen can play on the boards and in front of the net like his did tonight on a regular basis while still showing that amazing speed, he’s going to be a real player for us.” There was an instant chemistry between Matthews and Kapanen on Sunday night and since Tyler Ennis has been on his game so far, it’s looking like some consistency from Kapanen could steal him a spot on that top line.
- Bodies in front of Ben Bishop.
- It’s been widely known that Ben Bishop does not handle players screening him well. Either will end up in a powerplay for Toronto or a puck in the back of the net.
- Depth Scoring
- Leivo, Kadri, Brown, Johnsson, Ennis….need to start getting some chances. As of right now the Kadri line with Brown and Leivo has been ok and even adding Ennis didn’t help. Johnsson has kind of looked out of sorts which could be due to him only playing 8 or 9 minutes a game. But there needs to be a spark from these guys.
- Leafs defencemen need to be better.
- Passes have been off costing the team big time turnovers, miss hits and assignments. It’s only early but this is where you need to find those issues and fine tune them.
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