Preview: Toronto at St. Louis
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Two teams struggling to score goals face off Saturday as the St. Louis Blues host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both clubs have gotten off to rough starts in December, combining for a total of three tallies in four games.
St. Louis began the month by dropping a 3-1 decision to Florida at home on Tuesday before suffering a 2-1 shootout defeat against the New York Islanders on the road three nights later. Toronto has fared even worse, starting a three-game road trip with a 6-1 setback at Winnipeg on Wednesday and coming out on the wrong end of a 1-0 decision at Minnesota the following evening. The Maple Leafs’ scoring deficiencies go back well into November as the team has failed to score more than three goals in each of its seven contests since posting a 5-1 victory over Colorado. St. Louis swept its two-game series with Toronto last season, outscoring the Maple Leafs 9-1 in the process.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBC (Toronto), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (8-13-5): Toronto is likely to dress two goaltenders with a combined total of two games of NHL experience. With Jonathan Bernier in the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment and James Reimer listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Antoine Bibeau was recalled from the Toronto Marlies on Friday and figures to serve as the backup to Garret Sparks. The 21-year-old Bibeau has yet to make his NHL debut while the 22-year-old Sparks posted a shutout in his initial contest Monday before yielding six goals in the loss to the Jets two nights later.
ABOUT THE BLUES (15-7-4): Saturday’s contest concludes St. Louis’ string of nine consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents. The club has gone 3-2-3 over the first eight matches, scoring three goals or fewer in each. Paul Stastny notched an assist Friday for his eighth point of the season – all of which have been recorded on the road.
1. Jake Allen is expected to start in net for St. Louis.
2. The Maple Leafs assigned LW Rich Clune to the Marlies to make room for Bibeau.
3. St. Louis D Kevin Shattenkirk has registered a point in nine of his last 10 games, collecting three goals and eight assists in that span.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Maple Leafs 2