Canucks Look To Start Road Trip On Right Foot Against Leafs

Canucks (33-18-2)
Leafs (17-27-11)
Lou 
AT CC 

Time 4:00 PST
TV CBC
Season Series 1-0 Canucks
Last Meeting 3-1 Canucks (Oct. 24)
The Enemy Pension Plan Puppets  
Canucks Category Leafs
3rd Conference Position 14th
7-2-1 Last 10 2-6-2
3.23 (3rd) Goals Per Game 2.64 (16th)
2.40 (5th)) Goals Against Per Game 3.46 (30th)
1.39 (2nd) 5 On 5 GF/GA .96 (16th)
22% (4th) Power Play 16.3% (24th)
81.6% (16th) Penalty Kill 69.2% (30th)
29.7 (16th) Shots Per Game 33.7 (1st)
29 (7th) Shots Against Per Game 29.8 (14th)
77.8% (7th) Winning % When Scoring First 61.1% (24th)
85.7% (4th) Winning % When Leading After 1 63.6% (23rd)
95.8% (2nd) Winning % When Leading After 2 86.7% (15th)
51.6% (6th) Faceoffs % 50.4% (12th)
15.7 (27th) Least PIM's Per Game 12.7 (15th)
+34 (3rd) + / - GF/GA -18 (27th)

UPDATE: Sami Salo will not play tonight. Will the Leafs start Gustavsson?

***********************

Opportunity knocks for Vancouver. They can make a statement on Hockey Night in Canada and perhaps give Don Cherry and Ron Maclean something else (other than the Leafs) to talk about on Coach's Corner, but more importantly, they can pull ahead of the Colorado Avalanche (who are 2nd in the Northwest Division) by 4 points. A big thank you to the Stars for beating the Avs 3-2 on Friday night.

More after the jump..

It's baffling to see that the Leafs lead the NHL in shots per game. It just goes to show, like most of us know, that they do not have enough finishers on their team. You know a club is in deep shit when a defenceman is leading the team in scoring. That would be, obviously, Tomas Kaberle. Is this guy the best bang for the buck for a defenceman in the NHL? For him to put up 43 points in 55 games on that squad speaks wonders for his abilities. For Jason Blake to only have 10 goals and 26 points in 55 games is a surprise to me. More is expected of him. Phil Kessel nearly signed a death warrant by playing for the Blue and White this season, as he was potentially going to be a saviour when he returned to action from injury/surgery. But not even his 15 goals and 31 points in 43 games is good enough to save the Leafs.

Toronto is 0-3-2 in their last 5 games. In that span:

-Alexei Ponikarovsky had 3 goals and 6 points

-Niklas Hagman had 3 goals and 5 points

-Matt Stajan had 3 goals

-Phil Kessel had 3 assists

-Ian White had 1 goal and 2 assists

-Only 2 assists for Kaberle

-No points for Jason Blake. Blake has not scored a point in 8 games. He only has 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 15 games.

This should be a lock for the Canucks, who are better than the Leafs in just about every category. But nothing is ever a guarantee. The Leafs have many flaws in their game, yet they have a decent work ethic and cannot always be counted out. They erased a 4-2 deficit against the Devils in the 3rd period only to lose in OT on Friday night; their 11th loss in extra time this season. Only the Lightning and Stars have that many OTL's. Jonas Gustavsson started that game in goal for Toronto, but Vesa Toskala finished it. I'd expect Toskala to start against Vancouver.

Some Trivia:

The Canucks have currently won 6 games in a row. When was the last time they did that in the regular season? Answer: February 2007. They have only had six - 6 game winning streaks in their existence, according to Canucks Library. They have also had two- 7 game winning streaks (last one was December-January 2007) and their longest winning streak ever is 10 games, accomplished in November 2002.

-Is this the game where Line 3 breaks out? To me they still seem to get better and better every game.

-I'm not gonna lie, I grew up watching the Leafs and am quite partial to them. The Canucks-Leafs clashes are my fave games of the year.

-It's also one of my fave days of the year. Happy Hockey Day In Canada to all of you! Enjoy the festivities!

Here are a few clips to get your Canucks-Leafs mojo going (like you needed it):

1. Love him or hate him, this Sundin moment may live forever in Canucks lore.

2. Canucks beat Leafs 3-1 in October 2009. How many times were the Kesler-Raymond-Grabner line in those highlights?

3. Canucks kill Raycroft and the Leafs 6-1 in 2007. Hey Bob Cole! Don't sound so thrilled.

4. Canucks-Leafs brawl in Game 3 of the 1994 Semi-Finals:

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em highlights from that series.

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