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SHARKS (16-11-1) at MAPLE LEAFS (11-11-5)

7:30 pm

The Leafs this season have been an absolute blast to watch. Every play is exciting and game goes down to the wire. Unfortunately, the results haven’t been as exciting to watch. The Leafs keep winning games they should lose and losing games they should win. Games against Boston and Edmonton were acceptable to lose except…they won. Games against Vancouver and Colorado should have been slam dunk wins and they weren’t. This has to be said, that the effort was there but the puck just wouldn’t find its way into the back of the net. Like I said, the Leafs have been a blast to watch but the results haven’t been.

Tonight the Leafs facing the San Jose Sharks, last year’s Western Conference Champions, a team that hasn’t been the dominate force they are known to be. Goaltender Martin Jones has last his last two with back up Aaron Dell securing them a win on Saturday versus the Caroline Hurricanes. Both teams have been incredibly streaky this season. It should be interesting to see which teams show up tonight because irregardless of how things go, it should exciting to watch either way.

Despite Antoine Bibeau’s solid first outing in nets; Frederik Andersen, who has been a stable force in nets as of late, is expected to be the Leafs starter. Martin Marincin is expected to be sidelined and hopefully Mitch Marner can work his way out of Babcock’s doghouse. With December 25th around the corner, it should be noted Babcock expected Auston Matthews to be a dominate centre by now. It’s safe to say, that prediction is slowly coming to fruition and it’s great seeing him reunited with Willy Nylander. Their line of late has just be phenomenal. Also an important note, Auston Matthews hasn’t scored a bullet on his own net. Looking at you, Gary Lawless.

For a game in December, it seems the Leafs are slowly but surely inching themselves into a situation where every game counts and a good streak needs to start sooner rather than later. After producing 51 shots against Colorado and still losing, you can only imagine how fired up the Leafs should be when the puck drops tonight.

Projected Line Combinations

Toronto Maple Leafs

Komarov — Kadri — Brown
van Riemsdyk — Bozak — Marner
Hyman — Matthews  — Nylander
Martin — Smith — Soshnikov

Rielly — Zaitsev
Gardiner — Carrick
Hunwick — Polak


San Jose Sharks

Patrick Marleau — Thornton — Pavelski
Donskoi — Couture — Ward
Labanc —  Tierney — Boedker
Nieto — Wingels — Karlsson

Martin — Burns
Vlasic —  Braun
Dillon —  Schlemko


Mike Babcock — Morning Skate — 12/13/2016


This post first appeared on Leafs Hub, please read the originial post: here

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