Preview: Toronto at Anaheim
When: 10:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
For all of their early-season troubles, the Toronto Maple Leafs have acquitted themselves well against Western Conference representatives. The Maple Leafs hope that trend continues on Wednesday when they face the Anaheim Ducks to open a three-game trek through California.
“We seem to have had some success against Western Conference opponents and we definitely want to keep that rolling now that we head out to their neck of the woods,” Toronto’s Peter Holland told reporters. Holland scored in the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win over St. Louis on Saturday, with the team improving to 10-5-1 against the West and 7-2-2 in their last 11 contests. Anaheim hasn’t been too shabby of late, posting its fourth win in five outings to open a season-high eight-game homestand with a 4-1 triumph over Winnipeg on Sunday. Corey Perry tallied in that contest and recorded a hat trick in a 4-0 victory over Toronto on Jan. 14.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, RSNO (Toronto), FSN West (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (15-15-7): James van Riemsdyk recorded his 14th goal and team-leading 28th point of the season versus the Blues to extend his point streak to six games. The 26-year-old has collected four tallies and as many assists during that stretch, but has failed to scored a goal in six career meetings with Anaheim. Jonathan Bernier is coming off consecutive 39-save victories to improve to 5-2-0 in his last seven decisions after a disastrous 0-8-3 start to the season.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (16-15-7): John Gibson has been incredibly stingy during his four-game winning streak, posting two shutouts before making 19 saves against the Jets. Named December’s Rookie of the Month, the 22-year-old Gibson still owns the distinction of a first-year player despite winning 13 games and playing in 23 in 2014-15. His team’s recent success notwithstanding, coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters that more work needs to be done. “We’re not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination but we are playing a little better,” Boudreau said.
1. Anaheim C Ryan Kesler has scored in back-to-back contests.
2. Toronto has won six of the last seven meetings.
3. The Ducks are a blistering 6-for-11 on the power play in the last five games.
PREDICTION: Ducks 3, Maple Leafs 1