TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: 9-6-0 (18 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 4-6-4 (12 PTS)
GAME DAY SONG: Counting On A Miracle
The Florida Panthers host the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening for the fourth and final game of what has been a dismal homestand so far. Desperately needing a win, the Panthers will need to be firing on all cylinders tonight against a Leafs team that has won seven of their past 10 games, and is 6-2-0 on the road. A win tonight by Toronto ties them with their best road start since 1940-1941 when they went 7-2-0. Despite losing goaltender James Reimer to a lower body injury last week, backup Ben Scrivens is coming off a 34 save shutout performance against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. It was the first career shutout for Scrivens. The Leafs are hoping performances similar to that continue, as the win was their fifth in their past six games following a lackluster outing in Carolina on Thursday. Coach Randy Carlyle was displeased with the way his team played in that one:
Well, we got outworked in Raleigh,” Carlyle said. “We stated that and put that to our players that our commitment to the work ethic had to be to the higher level than it was in the last game.
One of the big stories for the Leafs this season has been the slow start of forward Phil Kessel who has only two goals after 15 games and didn’t get his first until game 11. Streaky as Kessel is, he wasn’t without chances, as he’s taken 60 shots on goal this year so far. Fortunately for Toronto they’ve been getting help from Tyler Bozak, James Van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri. Kadri who is finally getting regular ice time leads the team in scoring with four goals and eight assists for 12 points. JVR leads in goals with eight, indicating that the change of scenery from always sunny in Philadelphia to Toronto has helped. The Leafs as a team are among the league leaders in goals for, and won’t make this an easy game for the Panthers. Their defence is active with captain Dion Phaneuf and John-Michael Liles as the leaders of the blueline corps.