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Maple Leafs at Blues preview

Toronto has lost three of four games; St. Louis is 6-2-1 in past nine

by Louie Korac / Independent Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (13-13-4) at BLUES (18-6-6)



The Game

The St. Louis Blues will try to extend their winning streak against the Toronto Maple Leafs to eight straight games when they play Saturday at Enterprise Center.

The Blues, who defeated Toronto 3-2 at Scotiabank Arena on Oct. 7, have outscored the Maple Leafs 26-14 since Toronto last defeated St. Louis, 4-1 at home Jan. 2, 2016.

The Maple Leafs have lost three of their past four and have been outscored 16-8 after winning three straight since coach Sheldon Keefe replaced Mike Babcock on Nov. 20.

The Blues are 6-2-1 in their past nine games but are coming off a 3-0 road loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday that ended their four-game winning streak and their 10-game road point streak (8-0-2).


Players to watch

Maple Leafs center John Tavares has six points (four goals, two assists) his past five games.

Blues forward Jaden Schwartz has four points (two goals, two assists) his past three games and 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 10 games against the Maple Leafs.


They said it

"It's a big matchup for us. They do a lot of good things in the d-zone. They're a hard team to play against in our own d-zone. We've got to make sure we come ready to play." -- Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner on the Blues

"Any time you get a new coach, you get energized just because you hear a different voice or whatever. They got Mitch Marner back last game, obviously Freddy Anderson's a great goalie. They've got some really good offensive players. Our game doesn't change much from one team to another." -- Blues forward David Perron on the Maple Leafs


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Pontus Aberg -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Ilya Mikheyev -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Kasperi Kapanen

Pierre Engvall -- Jason Spezza -- Nic Petan

Morgan Rielly -- Tyson Barrie

Jake Muzzin -- Justin Holl

Travis Dermott -- Cody Ceci

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Frederik Gauthier, Dmytro Timashov, Martin Marincin

Injured: Andreas Johnsson (leg), Trevor Moore (shoulder)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Nathan Walker

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Ivan Barbashev -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Mackenzie MacEachern -- Jacob de la Rose -- Troy Brouwer

Colton Parayko -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Justin Faulk

Vince Dunn -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Carl Gunnarsson, Austin Poganski

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Alexander Steen (ankle), Sammy Blais (wrist), Oskar Sundqvist (lower body) 


Status report

Aberg will step into Johnsson's spot on the top line. Johnsson was placed on long-term injured reserve Friday after blocking a shot in a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday; he'll be re-evaluated after Christmas. ... Petan will play after being recalled from Toronto of the American Hockey League on Friday. ... Bortuzzo will replace Gunnarsson. ... Steen and Sundqvist skated Saturday but Blues coach Craig Berube said neither is ready to play yet. 


Stat pack

Andersen is 4-6-3 with a 2.87 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and one shutout in 13 games against the Blues. ... Binnington is 9-3-1 with a 2.13 GAA and .931 save percentage with one shutout in his past 13 starts.

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