December divisional matches rarely register high on the hype meter around NHL

in Neuigkeiten 22.02.2019 04:24
von douhua2233 • Jüngling | 38 Beiträge | 38 Punkte

TAMPA Authentic Teuvo Teravainen Jersey , Fla. — December divisional matches rarely register high on the hype meter around NHL circles.But make no mistakes, when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, plenty of eyes will be peering in to see what happens when the top two teams in the league faceoff for the first of four meetings this season.Tampa Bay has won seven consecutive games and 10 of the past 11 to open-up a six-point lead on Toronto in the league and Atlantic Division standings. The Lightning are the highest scoring team in the league with 128 goals while averaging a league-best 4.00 goals per game. The Maple Leafs are second in goals scored with 113 while averaging 3.65 per game, third best in the league.Article continues below ...Both teams are well aware that this meeting may not be just any other mid-season matchup.“They’re setting the standard for the National Hockey League and we’d like to be where they’re at,” Toronto head coach Mike Babcock told Sportsnet.ca. “We want our young guys to get the experience quicker so that we can be a good playoff team quicker, but in the meantime, we’ve got to win regular season games.”The two teams appear to be on a collision course for a playoff meeting in April, with the current playoff format all but guaranteeing a second-round meeting if the standings remain the same at the end of the regular season.So it’s never too early to want to send any kind of a message in a game that figures to feature more energy and buzz than normal in a pre-Christmas matchup.“Potentially you could see them down the road,” Maple Leafs’ center Nazim Kadri told the Toronto Sun. “We’re going to give them all the credit in the world but we want to go in there and beat them.”Tampa Bay could see the return of Vezina Trophy finalist goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has been out since Nov. 14 with a fractured foot. Vasilevskiy took part in the full practice on Wednesday Womens Victor Rask Jersey , a day after Eddie Pasquale was reassigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.Lightning head coach Jon Cooper did not say Vasilevskiy would start against Toronto, but he didn’t say he wouldn’t either, even with some hesitancy in throwing the team’s top netminder back in the crease after a month-long absence.“It’s not as much the injury as it is the cardio and how he’s feeling in that respect,” Cooper said. “I’ll sit down with him in a little bit and see how he feels, but he looked good out there (at practice).”Louis Domingue, who has started 13 of the 14 games in Vasilevskiy’s absence, has won six consecutive games and posted an 11-2 record in that span.No matter who is in goal for Tampa Bay, however, it’s more about how the team plays in front of the net, more than anything else.“The more we can distance ourselves from the team behind Alex DeBrincat Jersey , the better,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “(Thursday’s) going to be a tough game, we know that, probably the toughest one of the year. We need our A-game.” The Montreal Canadiens will try and build on their surprisingly strong start to the season when they host the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday at Bell Centre.The Canadiens, picked by many forecasters to dwell near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, are off to a 3-1-1 start after a 7-3 home win against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.The Canadiens are in third place in the Atlantic Division.Article continues below ...Canadiens coach Claude Julien said changes to the roster and an acceptance of a new playing style have been responsible for the Canadiens’ improved play so far.“I think it’s about the way we work together,” Julien told Montrealcanadiens.com Tuesday. “We chose to play a certain way this year given the things we identified over the summer. It was about speed and execution. At the same time, it takes players who believe and are capable of playing that style and playing it the right way together.“It’s a good start, but there are still a lot of games left and we have to continue to show that playing this style will serve us well right until the end.”Julien said he recognizes that it is a small sample size, but a fast start is critical to positioning a team to contend for a playoff spot. The Canadiens have been riding a more up-tempo game that has emphasized a more aggressive forecheck for their early season success.“You always hear talk about the season being just like a marathon Cam Atkinson Jersey Kids ,” he said. “I’m 100 percent in agreement with that. I think you also have to sprint out of the gates to start the year to position yourself well and then the marathon starts after that. It you don’t start out with a sprint, it’s tough to catch up.”The Canadiens have been led by a diversified attack with Tomas Tatar, Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher each with three goals to lead the team. Jonathan Drouin, who got off to a slow start, now has two goals as does Charles Hudon.At practice Tuesday, Tatar was on a line with Phillip Danault and Gallagher, Drouin was with Max Domi and Artturi Lehkonen and Byron was with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia. Hudon was on a line with Tomas Plekanec, who scored a goal in his 1,000th NHL game Monday, and Matthew Peca.The Canadiens placed forward Jacob de la Rose on waivers Monday to make room for Nicholas Deslauriers www.kingsproshop.com , who is returning from a facial fracture.De la Rose, 23, suffered from a cardiac episode Sept. 29, but was cleared to return to practice.Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who missed the past two games because of the flu, is expected to start against the Blues (1-2-2), who are starting a three-game road trip.The Blues could get forward Jaden Schwartz, one of their offensive leaders, back in the lineup against the Canadiens. Schwartz, who has been battling a lower body injury Womens Josh Anderson Jersey , skated on Tuesday. It’s expected he will be a game-time decision.Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has taken responsibility for the Blues’ slow start.“I’m the one that leads this group and we’ve won one game,” he told the team’s website. “It starts with me. I know I need to be better. It’s still on me. If we’re not winning hockey games, that starts with me.”The Blues, usually a strong defensive team, have given up 20 goals in their first five games.“It’s a disappointing start. We’re not going to sugarcoat that or hide from that,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told the team website. “It’s a little bit of adversity, that’s all it is. For us as a group, what’s important is we don’t let circumstances dictate who we become.“It’s taking us a little longer to get going; we’re not quite on top of our game, but we’re going to find it. We always do. We’ve always been a good defensive team. We always will be. We’ll get closer and I think this road trip will be really good for us.”

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