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Match Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Canucks

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


TEAM UPDATES

It'll be a tough turnaround for the Leafs tonight as they take on the Vancouver Canucks at 4 p.m. local time following a 6-3 loss on Friday night in Calgary. Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the start in goal for the Leafs after James Reimer played a full 60 minutes on Friday.

Nazem Kadri is expected to return to the Leafs lineup tonight after being held out of the past three games by the club for disciplinary reasons. The team has gone 1-1-1 in his absence.

The Canucks are expecting a handful of reinforcements back in their lineup after being hit hard with injuries over the past weeks. Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins, Brad Richardson and Yannick Weber are among those who appear ready to go tonight after missing time recently. Alex Burrows will be a gametime decision after being held out of practice yesterday.

Eddie Lack will get the nod in goal for Vancouver. He has never started against the Leafs in his career, but has made one appearance, making 13 saves in relief of Ryan Miller earlier this season.

Neither team held a morning skate today. Lineup changes on both sides will become finalized closer to puck drop when Peter Horachek and Willie Desjardins meet with media.

RECENT RESULTS

The Leafs are coming off of a 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday night which brings them to 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.

Toronto is 8-22-5 on the road this season.

The Canucks have been up and down of late and come into Saturday's game after losing a 4-0 game to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, on the heels of two consecutive wins. They are 5-4-1 in their last 10.

Vancouver is 18-13-1 at home this year.

LAST MEETING

The Leafs beat the Canucks at home in December with Jonathan Bernier stealing the show in a 5-2 victory. Bernier made 44 stops while the Leafs chased Vancouver starter Ryan Miller on 14 shots. Peter Holland had the game winning goal.

Toronto's victory was the only game between the two clubs this season.

ONE TO WATCH

Christopher Tanev

While Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis remain the name brand defenders on the Canucks blueline, Christopher Tanev has quietly become one of their most effective.

Tanev isn't a flashy player but moves around well and gets the puck moving out of the Vancouver zone. He stifles offence and owns one of the lowest shot attempt against and unblocked shot attempt against rates in the League among defenders.

If you believe the traditional theory that Torontonians thrive when they take on their hometown club, expect a big performance from Tanev in a shutdown role against the Leafs' top offensive players. He also scored a goal in the lone meeting between these two teams in December.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Here's how the Leafs and Canucks are expected to line up tonight...

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

19 Lupul - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel

21 van Riemsdyk - 43 Kadri - 18 Panik

47 Komarov - 24 Holland - 20 Booth

15 Lindstrom - 23 Smith - 22 Sill

Defence

51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf

44 Rielly - 2 Brewer

25 Brennan - 57 MacWilliam

Goaltenders

45 Bernier

34 Reimer

Vancouver Canucks

Forwards

22 Sedin - 33 Sedin - 9 Kassian

27 Matthias - 13 Bonino - 17 Vrbata

20 Higgins - 15 Richardson - 51 Dorsett

41 Kenins - 53 Horvat - 36 Hansen

Defence

23 Edler - 8 Tanev

2 Hamhuis - 6 Weber

5 Sbisa - 3 Bieksa

Goaltenders

31 Lack

30 Eriksson

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