Here's a sampling of thoughts on tonight's game and projected lineups for the Leafs and Blue Jackets.
Leafs defenceman Stéphane Robidas has played more games against the Blue Jackets than any other player on the Leafs roster with 40 — a game total more than double the Leafs franchise who play Columbus for the 18th time tonight. He talked about the evolution of the Blue Jackets and the challenge of their power play...
On the growth of the Blue Jackets franchise:
I find in the last couple of years they've brought in some new coaches, they got Bobrovsky who's one of the best goalies in the League, they've got size, they've drafted some very good players like Johansen, they got Foligno in that trade. They added some really good pieces. They added Johnson, Wisniewski, they made a few moves on top of the young guys like David Savard who is a really good young D. Atkinson was a draft pick for them. They've drafted some really good players and added some key pieces to their team. It's a big, strong, fast, skilled team. They had a slow start but they've had a lot of injuries. They found a way to stay in the race.
On their third-ranked power play:
I think they like to put a lot of pucks on the net so we can't start running around. We've got to stay in shooting lanes and try to let them shoot from the outside and not give them those scoring chances from primary areas. You've got to put pressure on them and not let them set up their power play in the zone. If you can prevent them setting up it helps and once you put the puck down the ice you've killed 20 to 30 seconds just by putting the puck down.
Daniel Winnik is slated to skate alongside Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel tonight against Columbus and recorded three points against the Blue Jackets in their first meeting this season. Here's what he had to say about tonight's game...
On his versatility:
I think that's one of my key attributes that I bring to the team and through my whole career. I've played left wing, right wing, centre and I've done that a lot this year.
On the penalty kill vs. Columbus:
They shoot the puck a lot and drive the net and that creates challenges for penalty kills, especially when they've got great shooters up top. They're really good at hitting the seams as well. We have our hands full, that's for sure.
On his performance vs. Columbus on Halloween:
They were really banged up the last time we played them, they're vastly improved since then. They've won a lot of games. Hopefully for myself I can have a repeat performance because hopefully that'll end up in a win for us.
On a couple of practices under Horachek:
I think it's very important, we went over some things we've adjusted. The more familiar we get with how they want us to play the better results we'll get in game.
Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets...
Toronto Maple Leafs
26 Winnik - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel
21 van Riemsdyk - 43 Kadri - 18 Panik
47 Komarov - 25 Santorelli - 71 Clarkson
20 Booth - 23 Smith - 40 Bodie
3 Phaneuf - 4 Franson
44 Rielly - 46 Polak
51 Gardiner - 12 Robidas
Columbus Blue Jackets
43 Hartnell - 19 Johansen - 71 Foligno
11 Calvert - 17 Dubinsky - 13 Atkinson
37 Collins - 41 Wennberg - 10 Skille
9 Morin - 55 Letestu - 40 Boll
7 Johnson - 58 Savard
4 Connauton - 21 Wisniewski
51 Tyutin - 29 Goloubef