After a surprising win against the Edmonton Oilers without Auston Matthews in the lineup, the Leafs go on their first big road trip of the season, kicking it off with back-to-back games against Calgary. Today is the first of the two, and the Leafs look to keep the winning ways going in a division that’s already starting to show it’s true contenders and pretenders.
The Flames enter the game having not played in six days, but with only three games played, they are currently undefeated in regulation, thanks to back-to-back wins against the Vancouver Canucks. The usual suspects have been leading the way for them, as Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Sean Monahan lead the team in scoring with 4 points, while players like Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund have been the usual possession monsters that they always are.
We still have no word as to whether or not Auston Matthews will play this afternoon, but I’m sure Friday’s win makes Keefe feel a little bit more confident about giving him more rest if it’s needed. That said, Calgary is a much tougher and deeper team than Edmonton, so he will still be very much needed.
If you need a more in-depth look at the Flames roster, check out the Flames Nation’s preview as well!
The line up will be pending on if Matthews is in the lineup, but otherwise I’d expect the Leafs to go with the same lines as Friday.
Leafs Player to Watch: TJ Brodie
I mean, this one was fairly obvious. Brodie spent 10 seasons with the Flames before signing with the Leafs this offseason, and in his first game both against the Flames and in Calgary, it will be a big one for him. He’s played well so far this season, let’s see if he steps it up against his old team today.
Flames Player to Watch: Mark Giordano
On the opposite side, Giordano was Brodie’s former defense partner, and in the three games he’s played so far he’s been less stellar than usual, with a 51.2% share of the 5v5 shot attempts, and a 45.11% share of the 5v5 expected goals. Not bad, but considering the Flames have a 53.99% 5v5 CF% (7th), and a 55.36% 5v5 xGF% (9th), it could be better. It’ll be interesting to see which one of this former dynamic pair excels more without the other in this series.
Leafs Starting Goalie: Unconfirmed
While we haven’t gotten any confirmation yet, it’s safe to say that Keefe will probably turn to Andersen again this afternoon. After a rough first two games, he’s been excellent through his last three games, sporting a .938 save percentage against high flying offenses in the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers. That said, it isn’t out of the question that Keefe gives Andersen a break and goes to Jack Campbell either.
Flames Starting Goalie: Jacob Markstrom
Like with Andersen, Markstrom isn’t entirely confirmed as the starter either, but considering the Flames had almost a week off, I’d imagine they’d go with their starter for this game. He’s been as advertised for the Flames so far in the crease, with a 2-0-1 record and a .935 save percentage through his first three games as a Flame.
The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet Ontario and Sportsnet West this afternoon. Puck drop is at 4pm EST!