The last time the Leafs met the Preds, according to http://www.procappers.com, it was November 2011 as the two teams met at the Bridgestone Arena and the home team Predators came away with a convincing 4-1 win. The game previous to that was exactly 364 days before that, in Toronto, which Leafs won, 5-4.
We all know Leafs are a different team now than what they were in the winter of 2011, the Preds have had a few changes too.
There is a list of Predators from November 2011 that we won’t be seeing tonight, both on the offense and the defense. They include: Niclas Bergfors, Francis Bouillon, Hal Gill, Matt Halischuk, Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei Kostitsyn, tough guy Brian McGratton, KHL castaway Alexander Radulov, Zack Stortini, Ryan suter-signed with Wild, and Jordin Tootoo, signed with Detroit.
And now, Leafs: the Blue and White have quite the different roster from November 2011 too. No longer here are: goalie Ben Scrivens, Colby Armstrong, Keith Aulie, Darryl Boyce, Mike Brown, Joe Colborne, Tim Connolly, Joey Crabb, Phillippe Dupuis, Matt Frattin, Mikhail Grabovski, Jonas Gustavsson, Ryan Hamilton, Mike Komisarek, John-Michael Liles, Matthew Lombardi, Clarke MacArthur, Jay Rosehill and David Steckel and Luke Schenn.
Also gone, and hopefully long forgotten then-head coach Ron Wilson.
Also, Leafs were outhit by the Preds 21-15.
The short-handed Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to get at least one player back following their first loss of the season, but the status of their leading scorer is unknown.
It did not take long for the injury bug to hit the Blue and White. Four games into the season and if you do not include the suspension handed to David Clarkson, half the Leafs are in the hospital.
Joffrey Lupul is nursing an injured calf, but is said to be making the trip to Tennessee, Mark Fraser is out with an injured finger/thumb, Nikolai Kulemin is hurt with a chipped bone in his ankle (owwww), and Frazer McLaren, another enforcer, is going to be missed tonight.
Leafs should supposedly get new-dad Jay McClement back tonight as his wife gave birth sometime on Tuesday night during the Avs game at the ACC.
We are just about halfway through the Clarkson suspension. He is out until the last week of the month.
This is no ‘new’ phenomena for a professional sports team, and is nothing new for a Head Coach who has been around the league for awhile. That being said, it will definitely be interesting to see how Carlyle manages the lines tonight. He stuck with his line changes that he made in the second period of the home win against Ottawa, and kept most of them in place for the loss vs. the Avs and we all know how that turned out.
“You’re going to have to deal with adversity throughout the course of the season,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “And injuries and birth of children, family illness — all those things roll into the things that you have to deal with. We’re no different than anybody else.”
McClement returned to practice Wednesday after the birth of his son, Reid, a day earlier. Lupul, though, was forced to sit out because of the injury he suffered in a 2-1 loss to the Avalanche.
Lupul has a team-best five points and scored his second goal in as many games in the loss to Colorado.
“It’s nothing other than a bruise. He’s day-to-day,” Carlyle said. “It’ll be dependent on how he feels. He’ll make the trip with us. We haven’t made a determination. Hopefully, the swelling will subside and he’ll be back to normal.”
The Maple Leafs are hoping to be able to stop the Preds in their tracks. Nashville picked up their first win of the season against the Wild on Monday. In that one, Nashville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals by Eric Nystrom (first ever penalty shot). Minnesota came to within one, but Nashville prevailed.
Tonight’s Toronto game will be the second in a five-game homestand for the Preds.
Centreman Mike Fisher has a point so far in each of his team’s first three games.
In net, Toronto may go with Jonathan Bernier who is 7-1-0 against Nashville with a nice GAA of 1.88, including a 5-1 win when he played for the Kings back on March 4.
The Maple Leafs might use Jonathan Bernier against Fisher and the Predators. He’s 7-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average in eight lifetime matchups, including a 5-1 win for Los Angeles on March 4.
For those of you still recovering from the first loss of the season two days ago, you may find it comforting that in the 2011-12 season, Toronto’s first loss also came at the hands of the Avalanche, and also in the fourth game into the season.
Nashville is in its 15th NHL season, and this only their fourth time hosting Toronto
This is the second time this week the Leafs will face one of this year’s top draft picks. Tuesday night at home, it was the #1 pick overall Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche, tonight they’ll see Seth Jones of the Preds.