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Game Journal: Game 13 - Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

5:00 PM: Tonight's officials will be Francois St-Laurent and Gord Dwyer while Derek Amell and Ryan Galloway will handle the linesman duties. You can tune in on TSN 4, Sportsnet 590 the FAN and by following the Leafs on Twitter. 

In the meantime, get set for puck drop with Paul Hendrick and Bob McGill.

4:10 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Red Wings.

Toronto Maple Leafs
21 van Riemsdyk - 43 Kadri - 47 Komarov
23 Matthias - 42 Bozak - 15 Parenteau
26 Winnik - 16 Spaling - 19 Lupul
40 Grabner - 56 Froese - 28 Boyes

51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf
2 Hunwick - 44 Rielly
36 Harrington - 46 Polak

34 Reimer
30 Bibeau

Detroit Red Wings
8 Abdelkader - 40 Zetterberg - 71 Larkin
21 Tatar - 15 Sheahan - 14 Nyquist
18 Andersson - 43 Helm - 56 Pulkkinen
20 Miller - 41 Glendening - 29 Ferraro

55 Kronwall - 2 Smith
65 DeKeyser - 52 Ericsson
4 Kindl - 47 Marchenko

34 Mrazek
35 Howard

4:00 PM:
Leafs TV also caught up with Joffrey Lupul and James Reimer ahead of tonight's game. Take a look...

3:30 PM: Brad Boyes caught up with and Leafs TV after today's skate. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

On counteracting their slow start last game against the Red Wings in Detroit (Oct.9th):
They play a similar style, obviously, with Mike being over there for so many years. So we've got to counter that, you know, do what they like to do. We want to get the pucks in, we want to limit their space…they got a fast team; we want to get in their way and make sure they don’t generate speed, they don’t come at us. So I think for us, I think it’s getting the puck in, not turning the pucks over, not making plays that cause turnovers, and have them coming on the attack. So, if we get it in and play in their end, like most teams in most games, that’s key, but, with us it’s also about slowing them down.

On the recently improved production on the powerplay, and the confidence boost gained:
We were playing well and getting chances, we weren’t scoring. This time, we got a couple lucky bounces, which have been good. We got a couple goals on, just throwing things at the net. Not our tic-tac-toe, highlight reel goals, but, goals nonetheless. And, it’s encouraging, when you have that, and you’re getting those bounces, it’s a good sign.

Is it easier to maintain focus playing four games in six nights?
That’s what’s good. Sometimes when things, things don’t go well, you don’t want to be sitting around thinking. And, you don’t have time right now, really. So we've got tonight, we got another one tomorrow, and then, we kind of keep going from there. So, obviously the focus, the key, is on tonight. And we’ll move on when we have to. But, it’s whatever happens tonight. We got another one coming right back at us that, we’ll be ready for, or ready to make better, I guess.

2:45 PM: Mike Babcock addressed the media ahead of tonight's game with the Red Wings. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

Are you seeing incremental improvement even though the wins aren't coming?
I thought we had our best game last game but in the end, we talk about this every day, we're in the winning business. I've always evaluated the process all the time, whether I was coaching in Anaheim or the Red Wings or here, we think we're getting better. I read something, someone handed it to me today, about Nazem Kadri having a slow start. I think he's having the best start his career, I think he's been phenomenal so what I see and what you see sometimes aren't the same thing but that's no big deal.

Kadri isn't putting up the points, isn't it fair to say he's having a slow start?
Not for me, I think he's having a great start. I think he's becoming a real player, he competes on both sides of the puck and makes his teammates better. So, it depends on what you're looking at. I think he's getting better every day.

Are we seeing with Kadri the results of a process that takes years to become an NHL centre?
I haven't been here with him, I've just been here with him for two months and I know he's working and getting better. I've been thoroughly impressed with him, how hard he's competing in the gym -- he's getting better in that area every day -- he's looking after himself better, he's being a better pro, he's practicing better, all those things lead to -- all your stats will be looked after in the end. There are good players every year -- I noticed there's a real good player in Philly, he's got no goals, I bet you he has just about the same at the end of the year as he normally does. It's just the math that works out.

Any lineup changes?
One -- Harry [Scott Harrington] is in, Marty [Martin Marincin] is out.

Do you have a roster move to make?
I think we made it, we put Clune on waivers. So, we're betting that he gets through and we continue to use him and we get to evaluate Frankie [Corrado] coming up here.

Is Bernier on track?
If he's on the plane to Washington tonight to skate tomorrow, we know he had some traction so we'll evaluate him tonight. He did nothing but he had a little skate.

What do you expect from Detroit tonight?
They do things well. They've got good players. I've been very impressed with Larkin. You know, I don't think -- when I watch them, I see what I expect. I thought they got off to a real good start this year, they had a bit of a hiccup and now they seem to be playing better again. I thought the Tampa/Detroit game was a good game to watch. It was high level by both teams so it's fun to watch. There was lots of plays being made by good players. It was good.

What are your thoughts on Nicklas Lidstrom and your experience with him?
He's just a special, special human being. He's as good a player as he is and he is, in my opinion, he's the best player on the back end of his generation, bar none. As good a player as he is, he's a better person, better teammate and better leader by example. A good family man, great to have in your organization, makes you a lot better coach. He slides on the blueline as well as anyone I've ever seen and makes plays. He makes you a better coach, I don't know what else to say about him, he's pretty smooth.

Do you have a particular memory that stands out?
I just know he's, if I'm not mistaken, the first European captain ever to win the Cup. When Shanny and Stevie and guys like that all left, lots of people didn't think we would be quite as good and for us to have the kind of run we did was great with him there. I don't know, I've got tons of memories. He's just good. One of the things, I tell the story about him all the time to our young D, if Nick ever made a mistake -- and he didn't make many -- he tossed it someone in the slot and they shot it in the net, he'd have a drink of water and play the next shift. In other words, nothing ever bothered him. He just played. I think the things that I'll remember is what a great person he was because he made his teammates better because of that.

Is it a numbers thing with Corrado not going in?
What we did is, because we brought him we didn't know -- the pro scouts know who he is, I don't have a clue who he is -- so they come here so I can put him in the lineup right away but I had a whole bunch of guys I wanted to go in the lineup. We used the opportunity to get him some hockey so we could catch him after he has played lots of hockey being good. So when we put him in the lineup we expect him to be good.

1:30 PM: The Toronto Maple Leafs begin another back-to-back tonight when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs lost in their last action on Wednesday night when they took on the Winnipeg Jets. Toronto held in tight against the Jets but ultimately fell short after a pair of miscues late in the game, which led to a 4-2 final score. P-A Parenteau and Leo Komarov had the goals for the Leafs while James Reimer made 30 stops in the loss. He will start again tonight.

The Red Wings come into tonight's game having won their last two, most recently defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 2-1 score. Riley Sheahan and Dylan Larking were Detroit's goal scorers while Jimmy Howard made 30 stops to earn the victory. Petr Mrazek will get the start in Toronto tonight.

Stay tuned for projected lineups, comments from Coach Babcock and the Leafs and more.

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