Two Streaking Teams Meet as Toronto Maple Leafs Visit Phoenix Coyotes

COLUMBUS OH - JANUARY 11: Martin Hanzal #11 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates a third period goal by Derek Morris #53 while playing the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 11 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio. Phoenex won the game 4-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Canada's Team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, finishes up their Pacific Division roadtrip tonight in Glendale looking to build on their four game winning streak. So far they've dominated the Thrashers 9-3 before heading out west. Then helped out the Coyotes a little bit by taking out both the Kings and the Sharks in some close games. Both those teams however were on the slide. The Phoenix Coyotes on the other hand haven't lost a game in regulation in their last six. A win over the Leafs would not only continue the streak but be a good start to a four game home stand for the Coyotes. 

The Leafs have a few players getting hot at the right time as they try to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. Mikhail Grabovski has been huge with 11 goals and 18 points over the last 17 games. The biggest strength has been James Reimer in goal though. Since being inserted into the lineup at goal he hasn't wanted to let go of the starts. He's sporting a 4-1-0 record with a ridiculous .947 sv% and 1.92 GAA. No one knows how long he'll be able to hang on to the job with J.S. Giguere playing backup and Jonas Gustafsson coming back. The sooner he has a bad game the soon he goes back to the AHL though. Maybe the Coyotes can help expedite that process for them.

The Coyotes too have had players step up big, but it hasn't been one or two guys. Almost every player that was stuck in a slump has broken out of it. Lee Stempniak, Eric Belanger, Derek Morris, Vernon Fiddler and Taylor Pyatt all scored goals in the past few games after extended droughts. Jason LaBarbera has been a solid backup and after Ilya Bryzgalov knocked the rust off in the last game he was solid as well. The Leafs won't be able to key on one guy to win this game. Every line has the ability to score and anyone could choose to show up big tonight. 

The Bullets

 

  • In the past the Coyotes have owned the Leafs at least since the lockout having not lost in the last four meetings. In fact the Coyotes have been pretty dominant. The last two meetings have both been won 6-3 in addition to a 5-1 win in the 07-08 season and 4-3 in 05-06. 
  • Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start tonight and has a 4-0 record against the Leafs
  • Mikkel Boedker was called up last night and will likely start.
  • Newly acquired defenseman Michal Rozsival will not be in the lineup though he might start on Saturday against the Ducks.
  • The Coyotes power play needs to come up in a big way as they're 0 for the last 20

The Last Meeting

Key Players


Lee Stempniak

#22 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

6-0

195

Feb 04, 1983


In his first meeting against his former team it would really be nice for him to have a big game. See how focused he is in that picture? That's what he needs to bring tonight.


Brett Lebda

#23 / Defenseman / Toronto Maple Leafs

5-9

195

Jan 15, 1982


In a 9-3 win over the Thrashers Lebda somehow managed to be on the ice for each and every goal against. The only player to do so he was a -3. You know what he needs tonight? More ice time. I'm sure that's the answer. 

Injuries


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Michal Rozsival other-excused 01/13/2011


Toronto Maple Leafs Injuries

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Fredrik Sjostrom leg 01/13/2011

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mike Brown fingers 12/01/2010
Jean-Sebastien Giguere groin 12/17/2010

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