You may have heard, but the Blues are down another player thanks to Covid-19 protocols. Pavel Buchnevich, who scored the Blues’ game winning goal on Thursday night, was placed in protocols yesterday. As of the time of this writing, he joins David Perron, Colton Parayko, Scott Perunovich, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Brayden Schenn as the sizable chunk of the payroll currently absent.
The Leafs have gotten Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall back as of yesterday, but lost Ondrej Case, Nick Ritchie, and Justin Holl.
The Maple Leafs have been a very strong team, but the Atlantic Division is as much of a pile-up as the Central is. The Leafs’ record of 23-9-3 on the season’s only good enough for third in their division. After a disappointing 2-1 loss last night in Arizona against the Coyotes, the Leafs may want to jump on a depleted Blues roster. Underestimate any team at your own risk, clearly - but underestimate the Blues and you could find yourself a victim of another come from behind victory. The Blues have 13 on the year, a league high, and regardless of who is in or who is out, they have been fighting through until the last horn.
Fans may be in for a treat tonight if neither team can stay out of the penalty box. Both the Blues and the Leafs are second in the league with a 29.6% effectiveness rate on the power play. The Leafs obviously benefit from Auston Matthews (24G, 14A) and William Nylander (16G, 20A). Both teams are also very effective on the penalty kill, with the Blues fifth in the league (84.2%) and the Leafs 8th (84.2%). Special teams will be incredibly important tonight - one misstep from either team and the puck will be in the back of that net.
Tonight’s the first meeting between the two teams - the December 23rd game in Toronto was postponed due to travel concerns as part of the league’s extended Christmas break. It hasn’t been rescheduled as of yet but more than likely it will be played at some point over what would’ve been the league’s Olympic hiatus next month.
The Leafs’ current starting goalie, Jack Campbell, is having himself a season, going 18-5-3 so far with a 2.02 GAA and a .935 save percentage. The Blues may be going with Ville Husso after another solid start against Seattle on Thursday.
Ville Husso last eight home appearances:— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) January 14, 2022
7-0-0, 1.38 GAA, .955 SV%
Stopped 234 of 245 shots in 478:47 time on ice.#stlblues
That’s pretty good, right?