The Canucks have landed on the east coast and are playing the Leafs for the first of three in a row tonight and nine this season. The Leafs have four days off after overtime against Edmonton and although their last game was a loss, they have amassed five games. Meanwhile, the Canucks are fighting this season and have just lost to Montreal twice in a row.
While most agree that a matchup is against the Canucks should It’s a pretty easy win for the Leafs. It is important for Toronto to avoid a trap game. Also, they should feel fresh after four days of rest, but it could also mean they are struggling to start on time and get their legs moving. The Leafs must approach this game as if it is going to be a tough matchup, no matter what, if they want to get back on a winning streak.
Sheldon Keefe continues to work on player rotations and adds Nic Petan for the lineup for today’s game. The Leafs are still without Joe Thornton, Nicholas Robertson, and Jack Campbell. While Alexander Kerfoot seemed up to something earlier in the week, it seems he’s good for today’s game.
Sheldon Keefe says Alex Kerfoot is “day after day” with his injury, comparing it to the injury Auston Matthews had earlier this season.
– Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) February 2, 2021
Alex Kerfoot is on the ice before # Leaves practice in a regular white sweater.
He missed yesterday’s training with an illness.
– Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 3, 2021
In the meantime, the Canucks want to build some momentum and work their way out of this early season hole. They had a good track last week and won four times in a row – but three of them were against Ottawa. They’ll likely come out strong, and if the Leafs don’t set the pace of the game early on, staying ahead of the Canucks could be harder than they expect. The Leafs have played a more even game this season, but it’s time their offensive talents really got going. This would be a good game for their top lines to score some group goals.
While Toronto continues to rely mainly on the starting goalkeeper Frederik AndersenVancouver used a tandem of Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demkowhich at this point are almost evenly divided between games. It will be a fun game.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Watch Leafs Player: Justin Holl
Justin Holl has been a season so far. Paired with Jake MuzzinThe two lift heavy for the leafs. Holl sees serious ice age, and fans and analysts alike like what they see of him. He looks more defensive and consistent than in the past and takes on tough matchups on the ice. In addition to his defensive play, he has 5 assists in just 10 games this season – last season he had 16 in 68 games. He’s not always someone we consider ‘one to watch’, but I think he’s earned it so far this season.
Canucks Player To See: Elias Pettersson
Elias Pettersson is a smart, subtle gamer who may surprise you with how skilled he is. Canucks fans like to think he’s on par with Auston Matthewswhat is categorically wrong, but he is extremely talented. He’s got a bit of a sluggish start to this season, but that just means he’s going to start producing a game now, and with the luck of Leafs, it will likely be this one. Keep an eye on him – and so should Freddie.
Leafs starting goalkeeper: Frederik Andersen
Freddie has been really solid on the net for the last few games and is slowly pulling his savings percentage back up to where it was in previous seasons – rocking an .899 in his last five starts. He looks more stable and confident, and therefore the team looks the same in front of him. He was in a hot spot when the team took their four-day break. Hopefully he can carry that over to today’s game instead of pulling back a little as he occasionally does after a break.
Canucks starting goalkeeper: Thatcher Demko
In addition to the best name in hockey right now, Thatcher Demko has had a decent season so far too. He achieved savings of 0.909 percent in seven games, which is better than his network partner Holtby can currently say. However, this season he is 1: 3: 0 with a GAA of 3.66. If the Leafs offense can find a way to compound it a bit, Demko could get into trouble. But the Leafs shouldn’t take anything for granted as Demko will prove to be a worthy opponent.