For the second time in a week, the Toronto Maple Leafs will meet the St. Louis Blues. The Blues won the first meeting in St. Louis by a score of 5-1 with Paul Stastny leading the way with two goals and an assist. After Mitch Marner opened the scoring, the Blues went on to score five straight goals including three in a five-minute span during the second period.
But the Leafs will be looking to bounce back against the Blues, following an impressive full-game effort against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
The Blues will be without Robby Fabbri in this one who will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL in a game against the Penguins on February 4. The Blues will certainly miss his 11 goals and 29 points, but Kenny Agostino has done a good job filling in for the 21-year-old Fabbri so far.
The Blues currently hold the first wildcard spot in the West just one point behind the Predators for a divisional spot. But they’re also just one point ahead of Los Angeles who sits just outside the playoff picture heading into Thursday night’s games.
The Leafs, on the other hand, sit third in the Atlantic Division tied with the Senators at 60 points. The Sens, however, do have one game in hand. While Boston is just two points back of the Leafs, Toronto holds a three-game-in-hand advantage that allows them to control their own destiny moving forward.
St. Louis Blues at Toronto Maple Leafs
Air Canada Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – SNO and FS-MW
2016-17 Season Series:
February 2 – Blues 5 – Maple Leafs 1
St. Louis Blues – 27-22-5 – 59 Points
Road Record: 10-13-1
Hot Players: Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen and Colton Parayko
Key Injuries: Robby Fabbri and Kyle Brodziak
Alex Steen-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko
Kenny Agostino-Jori Lehtera-David Perron
Jaden Schwartz-Patrik Berglund-Magnus Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall-Ivan Barbashev-Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Robert Bortuzzo-Kevin Shattenkirk
Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko
Jake Allen (expected)
Toronto Maple Leafs – 25-17-10 – 60 Points
Home Record: 13-8-3
Hot Players: Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and Tyler Bozak
Key Injuries: Joffrey Lupul
Leo Komarov-Nazem Kadri-William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Mitch Marner
Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-Connor Brown
Matt Martin-Ben Smith-Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly-Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick-Roman Polak
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Marner’s on a tear right now for the Maple Leafs. In the team’s last five games, heading into Thursday’s game, he has three goals and seven points. He currently leads the team in assists (32) and points (46) and the NHL’s rookie scoring race.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Both the Leafs and the Blues haven’t had great success over the last 10 games. The Leafs are .500 with a 4-4-2 record, while their counterparts from St. Louis are 4-6-0.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]When it comes to the all-time head-to-head numbers, the two teams have been pretty close. In 214 games, the Leafs hold a 93-93-25-3 record. They average 3.20 goals per game while the Blues average 3.21 goals per game against Toronto.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Jaden Schwartz has 83 goals in a Blues uniform. He’s currently tied with Chuck Lefley for 35th on the team’s all-time goals list. With one more goal, he’ll tie Chris Pronger for 34th on the franchise’s all-time list.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]With one goal against the Blues, James van Riemsdyk will tie Sweeney Schriner, Tiger Williams and Tim Horton for 46th on the Leafs’ all-time list. As well, Tyler Bozak needs just one assist to pass Ron Stewart (182) and tie Sid Smith (183) for 29th on the team’s all-time assists list.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]6)[/miptheme_dropcap]A former Leaf, Alexander Steen had 126 points (50g-76a) in 253 games played in Toronto. In 10 games against his former club, Steen has six goals and 15 points.
While these two clubs don’t meet often, both teams are looking to solidify playoff spots with under 30 games remaining in the season. The Leafs will look to grab two big points and move them further ahead of the Bruins in the Atlantic Division while the Blues are hoping they can climb their divisional standings with a win on the road against the Maple Leafs.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.