The Blue and White Blog Game 8 Versus The Great 8
Not gonna lie, I just realized there was a game tonight. If this game preview seems a little more slapped together, then usual I apologize.
The Maple Leafs rode a four goal second period to a big win over the Wild last night. That puts the team at 4-2-1 on the year, third place in the Atlantic. There’s nothing much to really say other than they just outplayed the Wild and took care of business at home. The big guns led the way Marner, Tavares, Rielly, Matthews and Andersen all producing.
Tonight it’s the battle of the back-up goalies with the Leafs trotting Michael Hutchinson and Capitals starting rookie Ilya Samsonov. Like Toronto, Washington is also off to a similarly so-so start with a 3-2-2 record. The core that won the 2018 Stanley Cup is still largely intact so by year’s end, expect them to be in the mix. Right now Washington has the third best Corsi For % in the NHL with 54.66 so you have to think that the underlying possession numbers will result in a string of wins.
Players of Interest
Through seven games, “T-Dog” Moore leads the Leafs with a PDO% (Even Strength Shooting % + Save % with player on ice) with 112.1. After a big 4-2 Tuesday night over the Wild, Moore was moved to the left wing of the Tavares, Marner line. I like this adjustment with the speed, hands and grit that Moore brings to the puck retrieval role. His work in the dirty areas should open up the ice for JT and Marner. I think Moore might be the best fit considering he’s more comfortable in a chippy role than Kapanen and has better hands than Hyman.
Washington’s first round pick in 2015 looks to be getting a shot to supplant Braden Holtby. The 22 year-old rookie has a .944 save percentage in his first three games. For years he’s been touted as the best goalie prospect in hockey and the early returns have been promising.
Have yourself a night Morgan!
Great night for fantasy hockey that’s for sure. Now there are still some kinks that the Rielly-Ceci pairing need to iron out in their own end, but you can’t complain too much after that game.
Here’s some quick talking points from couch correspondent Phillip Waind:
“Very tired. Pulled an all nighter playing 7 hours of Risk last night. I’m battling to stay awake all day just to keep my sleep schedule from being completely nocturnal. Gotta love reading week. Anyways, I missed last night’s game and can’t imagine I’ll be awake for tonight’s. Just like I abandoned the idea of the blue army taking control of Asia, I too hope that Babcock abandons the idea of Kapanen as a top six forward.”
Remember That Leaf
Originally came to Toronto by way of the Cody Franson to Nashville trade. The full trade was Lepsic from Nashville Predators with Olli Jokinen and round 1 pick in the 2015 draft (*Travis Konecny) to Toronto Maple Leafs for Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson.
Leipsic was unreal with the Toronto Marlies scoring 124 points in 141 games in three seasons with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate. I was pretty rattled when Toronto lost him in the Vegas expansion draft after choosing to protect Matt Martin.
It ended up not being too huge of a loss with Leipsic not really sticking on with Vegas or Vancouver. Now he finds himself on Washington’s fourth line
*The Leafs would trade Konecny pick down twice in 2015 to draft Dermott and Bracco
Let’s keep this train rolling. Tough task for Michael Hutchinson to steal a win on the road against the dangerous Capitals squad, but sometimes winners gotta win. A night after the Nationals clinched a World Series berth, it’d be a real shame to whoop that Capitals in Washington. Real shame.