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Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs have finally strung together a pair of wins. The Canucks hope to snap that streak tonight to get back in the win column.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (7-5-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (4-8-4)

Time 4:00 PM PT TV CBC
H2H (2014/15) Split 1 game each Last Meeting 4-1 Canucks - March 14, 2015
The Enemy Pension Plan Puppets Scoring Leaders

VAN: Daniel Sedin (5-10-15)

CBJ: Morgan Rielly (3-8-11)

Canucks Category Maple Leafs
7-5-5 Season Record 4-8-4
19 Points 12
T-2nd Division Position 8th
Lost 1 Streak Won 2
2.88 Goals For Per Game 2.06
2.47 Goals Against Per Game 2.81
14.8 Power Play % 15.2
79.6 Penalty Kill % 78.6
30.5 Shots Per Game 29.6
28.7 Shots Against Per Game 30.1


Last Game at a Glance

The Canucks are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. It was Ottawa's first regulation win at home this season.

Andrew Hammond made 33 saves on the night, improving to 2-0-2 on the year. Hammond was in net in place of Craig Anderson, who allowed seven goals against Nashville in Ottawa's previous game.

Vancouver jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to a goal from Sven Baertschi at an impossible angle, but the Senators struck back for three straight goals. The Canucks added a late goal from Alex Edler with 24 seconds left in regulation, but couldn't come up with another goal to force overtime.

Injury Bug Bites the Canucks

Brandon Sutter, who missed Thursday's game in Ottawa, remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. In addition to missing Thursday's game, Sutter was absent at Friday's practice, which means it is unlikely we will see him on the ice tonight in Toronto. This season, Sutter has four goals and four assists in 16 games played.

Luca Sbisa also remains out with a lower body injury, but both Sbisa as well as Brandon Prust, who is out with an ankle injury, are expected to rejoin the team before the conclusion of the road trip.

Canucks Lineup Notes

There's a little bit of shuffling around in the lineup for tonight's game. Based on the lines during Friday's practice, Jake Virtanen has moved up to the second line with Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat. Alex Burrows had moved down to the fourth line with Adam Cracknell and Derek Dorsett while Radim Vrbata is on the third line with Chris Higgins and Jared McCann.

Alex Biega was sent back to Utica, likely because of Luca Sbisa's upcoming return to the lineup. Biega played in one of Vancouver's three games during his time at the NHL level.


Last Game at a Glance

It took a shootout to decide things, but the Maple Leafs came out of Nashville with a 2-1 shootout win over the Predators on Friday.

There was no scoring in the game until 2:20 into the third period when Shea Weber delivered a power play goal to put the Predators up 1-0. Tyler Bozak tied the game for the Maple Leafs with 5:52 left in regulation to send the game into overtime and eventually the shootout. Toronto's first four shooters were denied before Peter Holland delivered the game-winning shootout goal.

James Reimer was solid in net all night, stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced.

Despite remaining at the bottom of their division, the Maple Leafs have now strung together two straight wins for the first time this season. Prior to Tuesday's win over Dallas, the Leafs had just eight points in 14 games.

The James Reimer Show

If James Reimer gets the start in net tonight for the Maple Leafs, it'll be the seventh straight game he has started. Jonathan Bernier is recovering from a lower back injury and hasn't appeared in a game since October 31. Bernier has struggled this season, posting an 0-6-1 record with a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage in his seven games this year.

Reimer has appeared in 10 games and has led the Maple Leafs to all four of their wins so far this year, going 4-2-3 with a 2.33 GA and .920 save percentage.

Turning a Corner

The Maple Leafs got off to a shaky start, going 1-7-2 in October. This month, the Maple Leafs are 3-1-2 and have earned at least one point in five consecutive games. Head coach Mike Babcock said that it's obviously still a work in progress, but the team is starting to feel better.

A large part of that success is due to James Reimer's performance in net. Over their last four games, Reimer has posted an impressive GAA of just 1.67. However, if Toronto wants to get competitive again, they'll have to find a way to get their offense going. In that same four-game stretch, the Maple Leafs are averaging just a pair of goals per game. Their 2.06 goals per game average this year ranks 27th in the league.