After a decisive victory in Montreal, the Predators continue their road trip north of the border with a stop in Toronto. This evening’s opponent blew out the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 on Saturday evening.
Craig Smith scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season on Saturday in Montreal. Mattias Ekholm continued to make his case for “most underrated” Nashville defenseman of the season, and Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal to seal the win. Rocco Grimaldi and Phillip Di Giuseppe absorbed and survived hits from Shea Weber.
Filip Forsberg was activated from injured reserve this morning. Colton Sissons returned to the Nashville lineup and didn’t look like he’d been hurt at all.
Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm are #2 and #3 in Nashville’s top 5 points leaders. Ekholm is on pace for a career season with 28 points (4 goals, 24 assists) in 42 games.
Both Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros have turned in solid goaltending efforts recently. Saros has a .972 Sv% in his last 4 starts.
The Leafs are part of the playoff conversation again this season. After acquiring John Tavares in the offseason and finally re-signing William Nylander, the Leafs are firing on almost all their cylinders. They are 27-12-2 on the season.
The Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division behind Tampa Bay.
With both goaltenders down for an extended time, Toronto acquired Michael Hutchinson last week from the Florida Panthers. He will start against Nashville per coach Mike Babcock.
Mike Babcock says Michael Hutchinson will start again tomorrow vs. Nashville.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 6, 2019
Doesn’t know yet if Zach Hyman will play after first full practice today. Probably not, though.
The Leafs are a star-studded team. Youngster Mitch Marner leads the team in points with 55 points (15 goals, 40 assists) in a contract year. John Tavares has 47 points (27 goals, 20 assists) and Auston Matthews has 39 (20 goals, 19 assists). Morgan Reilly leads Toronto defenders in points with 45 (13 goals, 32 assists). The Leafs have seen scoring from their entire lineup and it will take a full effort from the Predators to counter this dangerous team.
In his two starts for the Leafs, Hutchinson has a .935 Sv% and 2.05 GAA.
Memories and Feelings
- I wish there was some way the Predators could grab a guy like William Nylander or Mitch Marner from the Leafs. However, it’d involve giving up one of our prized d-men and I don’t know if we really need to go down that road.
Reasons to Watch
It’s Monday night. What else do you have going on? That’s what I thought.
Leafs Social Media
- @PPPLeafs: The Leafs SB Nation Site is Pension Plan Puppets.
Tonight’s Theme Song
“Here for a Good Time” by George Strait.
Tonight’s Drink of Choice
Mountain Red by Beans Creek Winery. Not too heavy, not too sweet.
How to Watch
Tonight’s puck drop is an hour earlier than usual...6:00 Central. You can catch the game on Fox Sports-TN or ESPN+. 102.5 The Game has the radio call.