Coming off an emotional win on Teemu Night, the Ducks will host a foe that they've only beaten nine times in the 35 games they've played against them in team history. The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming to town for their fourth game since the firing of head coach Randy Carlyle. They are 1-2-0 under replacement coach Peter Horachek, who lost his first game 6-2 to the Washington Capitals, but rebounded with a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They began a Western road trip with a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, but the second goal was an empty netter and they played the defending champs pretty close: shots attempts were 48-46, favoring LA.
The only other meeting between these two teams this season came on December 16th at Air Canada Centre. Phil Kessel had a pair of goals and an assist while leading his team to a 6-2 win in which the Ducks dominated the possession game, directing 89 shots toward Jonathan Bernier while the Leafs only sent 59 toward Frederik Andersen and his replacement, Ilya Bryzgalov.
Ryan Getzlaf and Nate Thompson did not partake in Wednesday's practice. Bruce Boudreau called it a "maintenance day" for the two veterans, and both are expected back in the lineup on Wednesday night. Eric Brewer also skated before practice, and appears to be getting closer to a return, which raises the familiar question of what to do with excess defensemen. For now, expect the D corps to look the same as it has lately.
Former Ducks Joffrey Lupul and Peter Holland are both on injured reserve. Lupul suffered a lower body injury on December 31 and he is expected to be out until the end of the month. Peter Holland is considered week-to-week with an upper body injury. Leo Komarov left Monday's game against the Kings after a collision with Matt Greene, but he has not been ruled out for Wednesday's game.
Daniel Winnik and Stephane Robidas will play in their first game at Honda Center since leaving the Ducks organization, but don't look for any video tributes.
What Can We Learn From This Game?:
Hopefully we can learn that Corey Perry is back to form. He hasn't exactly been killing it since his return to the lineup, which is forgivable in the short term given the the fact that knee injuries are, simply put, a bummer (See the banner hanging from the rafters). At some point it needs to stop being an issue, and with any luck that will be sooner rather than later.
From a Toronto standpoint, and I bring this up mostly because I am interested in the effect Randy Carlyle had on the Leafs, we can further learn what Peter Horachek brings to the table. The Buds have put up better possession numbers since the coaching change, and this game will add to that small sample size. Here's a good read on some simple things that Horachek is doing differently than his predecessor.
Regardless of the coaching change, we're gonna see a typical Ducks-Leafs game, and by that I mean shot attempts will heavily favor Anaheim but Kessel will singlehandedly outscore the home team.