I missed the last 2 games.
After a disappointing home loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, the Leafs travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets in their first of back-to-back games Friday (7:00PM ET).
They hope to bounce back with a hard working game against a much improved team that could possibly have Sergei Fedorov returning to the line-up that night.
In their loss to the Avalanche, the Leafs looked lost in their defencive zone, didn't create as many chances as they normally did in previous games, and Andrew Raycroft gave a below average performance, though made some big saves as well. It was a game that was uncharacteristic of the team that we've seen under new Head Coach, Paul Maurice, so far.
Raycroft's Goals Against Average has climbed after the last few games, but he's still currently sits at a solid 2.27 GAA, and a respectable Save Percentage of .923. It is not known whether he will get the start, or be saved for their last half of the home-and-home on Saturday, when they host the New York Rangers.
Bates Battaglia, a player in the Leaf system trying to find his past 20-goal form, notched Toronto's only goal of the game.
The Leaf defence made some blunders that could remind some of the Quinn/Ley coached teams of the past. They looked somewhat off from their previous game, where Mats Sundin ended a high scoring affair in Overtime for his 500th career goal.
Mats SUndin said:
"We looked sluggish maybe from not playing for a few days, I hope that's what it is".
As for Columbus, the Blue Jackets have put together a team that has some thinking about their playoff chances. The Addition of Anson Carter, And Fredrick Modin has givne the team some secondary scoring, behind Captain Rick Nash, and other forwards David Vyborny, Sergei Fedorov, and Nikolai Zherdev. No doubt did Zherdev's return give the Blue Jackets a spark, though it didn't last long as they are now coming off of a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
They still remain without former Leaf defenceman, Bryan Berard, who may miss most of the season after having back surgery Thursday night.
There has been little word on the progress of Carlo Colaiacovo, or Staffan Kronwall. Toronto will also remain without Pavel Kubina for the rest of the month, and some of November.
Mats Sundin and Kyle Wellwood share the lead in points for Toronto with 8 points in 7 games (Sundin 4G/4A, Wellwood 7 assists), while Darcy Tucker has 5 goals for the Leafs.
Matt Stajan has notched 4 points in his last 3 games, and looks like he'll be improving upon sis previous two NHL seasons.
Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets with 6 Points in 4 games, 5 in his last 3 (3 goals in total), while David Vyborny has 5 assists.
Pascal Leclaire is currently posting a .889 Goals against average, and a 3.36 Save Percentage. Columbus will need a strong performance from him if they want to win tonight's game.
The Leafs are 3-2-2 heading into the game, while the Blue Jackets are 2-1-1.
The Blue Jackets have a lot more weapons this year than they had in previous years. The Leafs shoud not take them lightly, or they will
Alex Steen really needs to get going, along with Jeff O'Neill. Honestly, O'Neill has done alright. However, he along with the rest of the team could still do much better.
Your thoughts on tonight's game....