This is going to be a good game tonight. Despite all predictions of doom and gloom the Leafs have turned into a hard-working team with a penchant for come-backs and opportunistic scoring. Even though on paper their offence is terrble and their defence is above average they've been great scoring goals and terrible keeping them out of their own net.
Mikhail Grabovski and Matt Stajan are the ones to watch. Both are on point streaks and are quickly establishing themselves as go to offensive players. Nicklas Hagman has also done well becoming a trigger man and has started racking up goals, not to Mention Antropov's continuing success from last year. Toskala has been up and down and certainly isn't as good as he was last year, but he's still tough to beat when he's on. Kaberle is still one of the best passers in the game, and could all too easily take this team apart with one of his pinpoint stretch passes. Our offense has gone dry lately, so neutralizing the Leafs has to be priority number one. They don't have much depth beyond the players and I mentioned, and if we can chip in a few goals and retreat back defensively we should be able to beat them.
As for Canucks notes Bieksa is out and Nycholat has been recalled. I'm not sure who's going to play, him or Davison, but I imagine they'll go for the Nycholat's offence to jumpstart our anemic attack. Salo is injured, but likely to play. Demitra is probable to return to the lineup and was skating on a line with Wellwood and Pyatt. I'd personally like to see Sedin-Sedin-Bernier and Raymond-Wellwood-Demitra, but Viggy seems intent on sticking with the Raymond with the Sedins experiment which has yet to produce any real positive effects. Oh well.
And finally, this game has a special significance to me. Right now I live in downtown Toronto with 4 Leafs fan roommates who would love nothing more to see the Canucks get ground into dust tonight. I don't think I could ever live down a Canucks loss. There's more than money at stake in this game.
With all of that said I say 4-1 Canucks. Daniel, Wellwood, Raymond and O'Brien for us, Steen for them. Demitra will have a pair of assists in his return, Nycholat will play a decent game if he ends up in the lineup.
GO CANUCKS GO