Boys in blue started off the weekend with a win at home. After defeating the Minnesota Wild in overtime, thanks to William Nylander, they headed to Seattle for a battle with the Kraken. Seattle prepared a warm welcome for their former Captain, Mark Giordano, with a video acknowledging Giordano as the first Captain in Kraken franchise history. After a quick wave of appreciation to the crowd and a few stick taps from teammates and opponents, it was time to get down to business. Seattle’s Vince Dunn opened the scoring, but it was responded to soon after when Giordano opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs. Goals from Tavares, Liljigren and a pair from Auston Matthews followed it up. Marner finished the game with three assists. Ilya Samsonov had an exceptional performance with 26 saves. Mark Giordano also set the record for most blocked shots in the National Hockey League with 2,045.
This sets the stage for a very important Canadian west coast road trip. Let’s consider each of our upcoming opponents and make some game predictions.
The next stop on this five-game road trip is a stop in Edmonton to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
First, Edmonton must face the Boston Bruins on Monday Night. However, most recently, the Oilers defeated the Penguins in a high-scoring finish of 7-2 on Thursday, February 23rd. The score was 5-6 in regulation. On Saturday, February 25th, the suffered a loss to the Blue Jackets.
My Game Predictions:
This is Morgan Reilly’s 700th NHL game. This will be a big night for him: two assists and a goal. Mitch Marner will continue grinding on the wing of new teammate Ryan O’Reilly and familiar linemate Matthews as Keefe continues experimenting with the lines to find a recipe ideal for playoff action.
We would be fools to think the Oilers aren’t coming out strong. Every team is battling to get or maintain playoff contention at this point in the season. With players like McDavid and Draisaitl in the mix, who has set their own respective records this season, the Leafs cannot take their foot off the gas.
Matt Murray is expected to return for this game. His return will be notable if he does.
Ryan O’Reilly hasn’t scored in the past couple of games. With that said, he has played a major role in setting up some pivotal plays. O’Reilly continues that work but also puts one in the back of the net for his new team.
This will be a tight, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat contest. However, the Maple Leafs pulled out a 5-4 win in regulation at Rogers Place.
Next, the Maple Leafs invade the Saddledome in Calgary to take on the Flames on Thursday. Now that I write this article, the Flames still have a game on Tuesday facing the Boston Bruins. However, on Saturday, Calgary was defeated by Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche. The score was 4-1.
My Game Predictions:
The last time these two clubs faced each other was back in December. It was a back-and-forth battle. Mitch Marner scored the overtime goal to bring the home crowd at Scotiabank Arena to the feet.
The magician in Marner will shine on Wednesday, as always. He will continue to build evidence to the idea that he is the best winger in the league. Along with a pair of apples, he gets a goal in this one.
William Nylander is having a career year with 33 goals and 39 assists this season. Historically, he likes to score on the Calgary Flames. The evidence of that will be displayed in this game. He will have a couple of chances on-net, and one will be successful.
The third Maple Leafs goal, I am predicting to be a nice old-fashioned snipe from Matthews. This game ended in a 3-1 Leafs victory over the Flames.
The Vancouver Canucks are the last stop for the Maple Leafs on the Canadian west coast trip this Saturday. The Canucks will still face the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild before this weekend. The Canucks sit in sixth place in the NHL’s Pacific Division with 51 points. They were most recently defeated by the Boston Bruins 3-1 on February 25th.
My Game Predictions
Leafs will come out strong in this one. I am reeling from how successful the trip has been. Leafs will open the scoring with a goal from a player like Kampf or Engvall. The second period will be scoreless. Tavares will score in the last few minutes of the game. However, I am predicting a 3-2 loss here. It will not be a messy, lazy loss but a well-fought effort from everyone.
Before heading home to Toronto, they will return stateside to face the New Jersey Devils on March 7th.
We are headed down the stretch of the last twenty regular season games. We very recently acquired O’Reilly, Acciari, McCabe, and Lafferty. Tell me, what are your playoff predictions?