Game Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Colorado Avalanche | 01/13/2024

The Leafs are back for another Saturday game as they face off against the Avalanche tonight. The Avalanche have been solid this season, and it will be a test for this Leafs team that’s coming off of an overtime loss against the Islanders. If you tune into tonight’s game, you will also find out the final fan vote members who were voted into the All-Star game. Nylander, Marner, Rielly, and Tavares all have a shot at having been voted into the game, which will be held in Toronto next month. The lines look intact tonight from last game, so this Leafs team will need to put in a better and more complete effort against the Avalanche.


Leafs Latest Lineup

Three Things to Look Out For

Benoit

Simon Benoit has been a stud for the Leafs this season after many had previously given up on him, including his old team, the Anaheim Ducks. Benoit has proven many doubters wrong and has become a widely loved defenseman for the Leafs. He is playing great defensively and is quick to stick up for his teammates. He also does a great job of keeping opposing players out of the crease, something that’s been lacking since Muzzin’s injuries. Benoit doesn’t have much offensive upside, but ultimately, that’s not what his job is to do. Look for Benoit to be tested tonight against a solid Avalanche team, as he tries to continue his cement his role in this league.

McMann

Bobby McMann has looked like an NHL player since joining the Leafs. It was quite a journey for McMann to make the NHL, and at 27 years old, will be skating in his 29th NHL game. McMann has some offensive upside, but also has performed relatively well defensively, and hasn’t made many major mistakes with the Leafs so far this season. I’m sure McMann would like to convert on more of the chances he’s been getting, but there are positive signs in his game. Like Benoit, tonight is a good test against a tough team as McMann also looks to cement an everyday NHL role, especially now that he requires waivers.

Giordano

Mark Giordano has been loved by many and followed Spezza’s path of taking deals at under $1M per season. With that said, Giordano has shown signs of aging and ultimately might be in line for a rest tomorrow night on the second half of a back-to-back. Giordano plays hard every game, but I find that his defensive play has slipped, and that’s likely due to age. The Leafs will look to play with the puck more than they do without the puck, and ultimately that can help Giordano. Keep an eye on Giordano as he looks to push through a tough game tonight.

Tonight’s game starts at 7 p.m. EST on Sportsnet!

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