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|Toronto Maple Leafs||TBA||TBA|
|St. Louis Blues||TBA||TBA|
If these two teams played in the same division, they would be fighting for the same spot right now. Fortunately, these teams do not even play in the same conference, let alone the same division. The Maple Leafs and Blues both have 49 points, although the Blues have played two more games.
The Maple Leafs have one of the best goalies in the NHL in Jack Campbell. Campbell is 18-5-3, third-best in the NHL. The Leafs also have one of the best centers in the NHL in Auston Matthews and a great passing defenseman in Morgan Reilly. Their team is very well-balanced and very dangerous.
Even though the St. Louis Blues have a great record, their goaltender play has not been strong. Their best goaltender, Jordan Binnington is a bottom-half goalie who gives up almost three goals a game. However, St. Louis has a great center in Jordan Kyrou, a great winger in Vladimir Tarasenko, and strong defenseman. Tarasenko will not be playing today, so I will pick the Maple Leafs to squeak this one out on the road.
Toronto beats St. Louis 3-2 on the road behind strong goaltender play.
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|Toronto Maple Leafs||Head-to-Head||St. Louis Blues|
|Sheldon Keefe||Head Coach||Craig Berube|
|23-9-3 (3rd in Atlantic Division)||Standing||22-10-5 (2nd in Central Division)|
|Auston Matthews (38)||Points||Jordan Kyrou (37)|
|Auston Matthews (24)||Goals||Jordan Kyrou (14)|
|Morgan Reilly (25)||Assists||Robert Thomas (24)|
|Alexander Kerfoot (19)||+/-||Justin Faulk (18)|
|Auston Matthews (4.47)||Shots (Per Game)||Vladimir Tarasenko (3.47)|
On this night, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the better team. They may be playing on the road, but they have the stronger goalie and are healthier. This game will still be a battle from start to finish. The Maple Leafs need to focus on limiting the Blues amount of shots and overwhelming the Blues goalies with shots.
The Blues average 31.9 shots per game and 3.41 goals per game. These are not incredible numbers, but they are pretty good. The Maple Leafs defenseman need to prioritize playing strong defense and not letting the Blues take a lot of shots. The fewer shots the Blues take, the fewer opportunities the Blues have to score.
I would bet the Maple Leafs recognize that the St. Louis Blues are not that good this season. Since that is the case, they should take a lot of shots against them. They might get lucky and have an extra shot slip into the net. That extra shot could be the difference between them winning and losing.
I would pick the St. Louis Blues to win on a normal night. However, they will be without Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko went on the injured reserved list on January 13. Even without Tarasenko, the Blues can still win this game if they stay out of the penalty box and play strong defense.
The Blues do not commit many penalties—they only have 296 penalty minutes on the season. That puts them in the bottom ten of the NHL. They have to continue playing clean hockey against the Maple Leafs. If they commit one penalty, that could be the difference between winning and losing. Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has eight power-play goals and becomes very dangerous when the Leafs have a man advantage. The Blues cannot give him that opportunity.
The Maple Leafs have a few scorers in Auston Matthews, Williams Nylander, and John Tavares. Those three players have combined for 54 goals, almost half of the Maple Leafs 116 total goals. The Blues defenseman cannot allow them to get good shots, or this game will quickly get out of hand.
Center Auston Matthews is an incredible scorer. He just has a knack for finding the back of the net. He has 24 goals in only 32 games this season.
Matthews is a star in the NHL and a vital part of the Maple Leafs’ success. He can score, pass, and takes a lot of shots. The 24-year-old from Phoenix is an incredibly dangerous player and will be a crucial part of the Maple Leafs’ success against the Blues. I would be surprised if the Maple Leafs leave St. Louis without an Auston Matthews goal.
The Blues defenseman cannot stop Matthews. All they can hope to do is slow him down.
Center Jordan Kyrou’s importance has only grown in the absence of Vladimir Tarasenko. Kyrou leads the Blues in points (37) and goals (14). He will be the Blues’ #1 offensive weapon tonight.
Kyrou is a better passer than scorer. He has 23 assists compared to 14 goals. However, he should look to pass and score this game. That is the only way that the Blues will be able to match the likes of Auston Matthews and John Tavares.
Kyrou needs to understand that his offensive role has increased in the absence of Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues could score more and leave with a victory at home if he understands that more of the offensive burden falls on him now.
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|Toronto Maple Leafs vs St. Louis Blues Information|
|What||Toronto Maple Leafs vs St. Louis Blues|
|Where||Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri|
|When||Saturday, January 15, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||NHL Network|
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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