Monday December 19th, 2016 4:30 PM PST
Air Canada Centre
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Pension Plan Puppets
Monday’s game in Toronto will be an interesting one for many reasons.
Randy Carlyle’s return to his “in between jobs” team as the Maple Leafs head coach from 2012-2015, only this time back in the visitors locker room. When asked if he wanted to leave with a win after his first time returning to Toronto since his firing, Carlyle responded, “I’d be a fool to say it wouldn’t mean something special.”
The reacquainting of the team to Frederik Andersen, Anaheim’s beloved goaltender of the last several years now helping lead an exciting squad of some of the NHL’s top young talent.
The young talent that promises to restore the Maple Leafs glory in the hockey world led by 2016 #1 overall pick and Arizona desert king Auston Matthews and his sidekicks, Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly.
The Leafs have had a bumpy road lately going 4-3-3 over their last 10 games. However, this is exactly the type of team that seems to be the Ducks achilles heel: young and speedy. The Ducks heavy, grinding, physical play never seems to catch up to teams like this.
Neutralizing this team will be tall task for the recently defensive-challenged Ducks who have given up a staggering 15 goals in their last 3 games played. Eric Stephens of the OC Register reported that the Ducks held a closed-door team meeting after practice in Toronto yesterday. I’ll give you one guess as to what it was about.
While the Ducks attempt to figure things out on the back end, the forward corps should mount a challenge to the young and inexperienced Leafs defense. Rickard Rakell continued his scorching hot run (can we even call it simply a run at this point?) with 2 goals against Detroit giving him 7 points (4g, 3a) in his last 5 games. Ryan Getzlaf has 5 points (1g, 4a) in his last 5 while Ryan Kesler has 4 points (0g, 4a) in that same span.
Toronto has given Anaheim fits over the years, going 10-22-5 in their history. Much like Joe Louis Arena, the Ducks will be looking to reverse their fortunes in Toronto and make a statement.