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Daily Primer: Can the Maple Leafs keep rolling?

by John Kreiser

If the Toronto Maple Leafs want to continue their hot start, they're going to have to do something they haven't done for nearly a decade.

The Maple Leafs continue their swing through Western Canada on Saturday with a game against the Vancouver Canucks (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC), a team they haven't beaten since sweeping a home-and-home series in late November, 2003. Vancouver has won the past 10 games between the teams, outscoring Toronto 44-21 in the process.

Toronto comes into Rogers Arena having started its trip with back-to-back victories against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. The Maple Leafs owe the wins to their goaltenders -- James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier each faced 43 shots.

Here's a complete look at the action scheduled for Saturday:

Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets -- This figures to be a special day for Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who will be playing in his hometown during the regular season for the first time as an NHL player. He brought the Stanley Cup to Winnipeg after the Blackhawks' victories in 2010 and '13, but has yet to play a game in Winnipeg. He comes to town after scoring three times in a come-from-behind 6-5 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. The Jets have also been off since Tuesday, but they're likely still trying to wash away the taste of a 3-2 road loss to the St. Louis Blues in which they allowed the go-ahead goal in the final minute.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Vancouver Canucks -- Toronto has won three in a row, but coach Randy Carlyle will have an interesting decision to make as he decides on his starting goaltender. Both Reimer and Bernier have been playing superb hockey, and neither has much history against the Canucks. Vancouver is playing the finale of a three-game homestand before starting a four-game trip against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday. Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin are among the NHL's top scorers, and after signing four-year extensions Friday, they'll be Canucks through the end of the 2017-18 season.

Anaheim Ducks at Buffalo Sabres -- The Ducks are playing the next-to-last game of an eight-game swing that ends against the New York Rangers on Monday. They're 3-2-1 so far, but they let a point get away Thursday night when they couldn't hold a lead late in regulation and lost 3-2 to the Boston Bruins in a shootout. The Sabres would be happy to get to a shootout -- they fell to 2-12-1 with a 2-0 loss to the Rangers in New York on Thursday. Ryan Miller's 1-10-0 record doesn't match his .919 save percentage.

Boston Bruins at New York Islanders -- The Bruins spent Friday night on Long Island while the Islanders won 5-4 against the Ottawa Senators in a shootout in the Canadian capital. They fired 57 shots on goal through 65 minutes, but it was Frans Nielsen's goal in the tiebreaker that earned New York the extra point. The Islanders spotted Ottawa leads of 2-0 and 4-2 before rallying for the win. Boston might use backup goaltender Chad Johnson after Tuukka Rask started against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday and the Ducks one night later.

St. Louis Blues at Tampa Bay Lightning -- Both teams are playing for the second time in as many nights after pitching 31-save shutouts Friday. The Blues began a trip through the Sunshine State by blanking the Florida Panthers 4-0 with Brian Elliott in goal. The Lightning are back in Tampa after beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 in Raleigh, N.C., behind Ben Bishop. These teams haven't played in the regular season since 2011-12, but they did meet twice in the preseason, with the Lightning winning both games.

Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils -- There's nowhere to go but up for the Flyers, who suffered one of the worst home losses in their history when they were beaten 7-0 by the Washington Capitals at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, dropping them to 3-9-0. Steve Downie (concussion) and Vincent Lecavalier (facial injuries) have been ruled out for the game. After a slow start, the Devils are starting to come together; they've won back-to-back games and shut down the Lightning 2-1 on Tuesday in a game that saw Tampa Bay manage 17 shots on goal.

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers -- Neither team is scoring very much, but the Rangers have been turning the goals they've been getting into victories. New York beat Buffalo 2-0 on Thursday for its third win in four games, though the Rangers are still tied with the Flyers for the fewest goals scored (20). Carolina has managed 26 goals in 13 games, but the Hurricanes were shut out by Tampa Bay at home Friday and have scored four goals during their four-game losing streak.

Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals -- The Panthers managed 31 shots against St. Louis at home Friday, but they couldn't get any of them behind Brian Elliott in a 4-0 loss that dropped them to 3-8-2. The Capitals closed out a five-game trip on a spectacular high by routing the Flyers 7-0 in Philadelphia -- even without Alex Ovechkin in the lineup. Ovi was sidelined with an upper-body injury, but Joel Ward stepped up with his first NHL hat trick to key the rout.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets -- The Penguins raced to a 4-0 lead and beat Columbus 4-2 at Consol Energy Center on Friday in the first half of the back-to-back. Pittsburgh chased Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky by scoring three goals on 13 shots, and got a 37-save performance from Marc-Andre Fleury at the other end. The Blue Jackets had plenty of chances, but only Derek MacKenzie and Ryan Johansen were able to beat Fleury. This is the opener of a four-game homestand for Columbus.

Montreal Canadiens at Colorado Avalanche -- Patrick Roy faced the Canadiens numerous times as a player after being traded from Montreal to Colorado in December, 1995. But this will be the first time he's gone up against his old team as a coach. The Avalanche are back home after continuing their incredible early-season run Friday by beating the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime to improve to 11-1-0. The Canadiens, who have their dads along on a two-game weekend trip, will try to put on a better show than they did Friday, when they overcame a 3-1 deficit but still lost 4-3 to the Minnesota Wild.

Detroit Red Wings at Edmonton Oilers -- Like the Maple Leafs, the Red Wings are doing just fine in Western Canada. They followed a 2-1 victory in Vancouver on Wednesday with a 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames on Friday. The Oilers are playing their sixth home game; they've lost four of the first five, including a 4-0 loss to Toronto on Tuesday. They may have starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk back in the lineup; he says he's ready to go after recovering from an ankle injury.

Phoenix Coyotes at San Jose Sharks -- Under Dave Tippett, the Coyotes have won with defense, goaltending and solid play within a system. Until this season, that is. The Coyotes are 9-3-2 thanks to their offense, which has generated 48 goals, and in spite of their defense, which has allowed 44. Phoenix dug itself out of a 3-0 hole against the Nashville Predators on Thursday and won 5-4 in a shootout. The Sharks return home after a 3-1-1 trip that could have been better; their lone regulation loss came in Boston on a goal scored with :00.8 remaining, and they had to settle for a point against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday when they couldn't hold three one-goal leads in a 4-3 overtime loss.

Nashville Predators at Los Angeles Kings -- The Predators started their seven-game trip with a three-goal first period against the Coyotes on Thursday, only to wind up losing 5-4 in a shootout. Los Angeles spotted San Jose three one-goal leads, but the Kings turned up their puck-possession game, scored the tying goal in the third period and won 4-3 in overtime on Anze Kopitar's power-play goal. L.A. outshot San Jose 12-3 after the second period.

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