On Tuesday night, Anaheim hits the middle game of their five-game road trip when they face off in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Ducks have won seven consecutive games, dating back to the game on the first of December. Toronto has found a recent resurgence as well, with the Leafs on a five-game winning streak. Oddly enough, both teams have scored the same number of goals in the month of December: 27.
The most influential storyline on Anaheim's bench is the lengthy list of injuries to important players, namely Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin. Newcomer, Eric Brewer, is also still sidelined with his foot injury. However, Jason LaBarbera and Chris Wagner were reassigned to the Norfolk Admirals due to both Dany Heatley and Ilya Bryzgalov being recalled from their conditioning stints to meet the team in Toronto. Coach Bruce Boudreau explained that he expects Bryzgalov to make his debut for the season in an Anaheim jersey in one of the two back-to-back games that the Ducks have scheduled later on this week (Thursday @ Montreal, or Friday @ Ottawa), Heatley was less clear about when he might re-debut, considering the success the team has had of late without him.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are also not 100% healthy, with defenseman Roman Polak missing his 10th straight game with an ankle ailment. However, all three of the players that have 25 points or more this season (Phil Kessel, Jason van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak) are healthy and expected to dress for Toronto.
What Can We Learn From This Game:
What I really want to know is: Will Randy Carlyle ever lose to the team he coached previously? Since being fired by the Ducks in November 2011, Randy Carlyle has coached the Toronto Maple Leafs to two victories, which were both pretty ugly, a 4-2 win in Toronto last October and a 3-1 win in Anaheim in March.
Randy Carlyle attempts to haunt his former team, scaring them out of Christmas Cheer, however clutch second-center, Ryan Kesler, foils his plans by tallying a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.