Toronto Maple Leafs face-off against Florida Panthers
The Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Florida Panthers at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday 26 October.
The Maple Leafs are coming off three straight losses, two of which were in regulation, after starting the season a perfect 4-0. The Leafs will be interested in getting back to their winning ways against the Panthers on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Panthers will be trying to move out of the bottom of the Southeast Division. At the moment Florida sits at 3-3-0, giving them six points, one behind the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Leafs are looking to move back into the win column. The squad looked nearly unstoppable in their opening four games, using their speed to get in on the fore-check and disrupt the oppositions defence. In addition, the club was getting strong defence from
their top four, Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle, Luke Schenn and Francois Beauchemin. However, over the past four games the club has looked less determined and lacks the organization they started with on the defensive end.
The Leafs are planning to start J-S Giguere in net and have made a change to their top line, bringing winger Nikolai Kulemin up from the second unit, while dropping Kris Versteeg down to the second line. The Leafs are hoping the change will spark the two
scoring lines against the Panthers. Toronto is looking for more from both Versteeg and first line centre Tyler Bozak. Head coach Ron Wilson is hoping that Kulemin’s propensity to battle in the corners and ability to get to loose pucks will help Bozak improve
on his three points this season.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are looking for a way to spur an offence that has been subpar this season. The squad has been getting brilliant defence from a group led by Bryan McCabe and Dennis Wideman and currently sit third in the League, allowing an average
of two goals per game. Unfortunately, they have struggled putting pucks in the net with several of their promising rookies failing to make the score sheet.
First line centre Michael Frolik was supposed to be poised for a breakout season in 2010-11. However, the 22-year-old has struggled with the increased ice time and only has two points to start the season. In addition, Stephen Weiss has been slow to start
the season, with only one goal and one assist in six games. Conversely, the team has been getting strong play from their third line, which features veteran Marty Reasoner and Rostislav Olesz.
Once again the Panthers have managed to remain competitive thanks to impeccable goaltending from Tomas Vokoun. The Czech net-minder has started in all six of the Panthers games this season and has a 3-3 record. However, even with his .500 record Vokoun’s
numbers are impressive, currently owning a .925 save-percentage and 2.14 goals-against-average.
The Leafs are boasting a 2-1-1 home record, but are looking to put an end to a three game losing streak, while the Panthers have been strong, going 3-1, since losing their first two games of the season.