The Toronto Maple Leafs have won nine of the past 10 games and 14 of 16 since the sky was falling after a mediocre 2-4-1 start to the season.
Joey Anderson will get an opportunity in the third-line right wing spot while Ondrej Kase remains out of the Maple Leafs lineup with an upper-body injury for a third consecutive game. Anderson, who played one game for the Maple Leafs last season, has seven points (5 G, 2 A) in 13 AHL games this season.
Jack Campbell will start in net for the Maple Leafs. He was my pick for the Vezina Trophy through the first quarter of the season.
Petr Mrazek is slated to backup Campbell. He has been out of the lineup since October 30.
Captain John Tavares leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 22 points (10 G, 12 A) in 22 games.
Toronto enters the game with a 16-6-1 record, good for 33 points in 23 games, which has them in second spot in the Atlantic Division.
Here is the expected lineup for the Maple Leafs against Colorado:
Bunting – Matthews – Marner
Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander
Engvall – Kampf – Anderson
Ritchie – Spezza – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Sandin – Dermott
The Colorado Avalanche have won seven of their past eight games. Not unlike the Maple Leafs, they have emerged from an underwhelming start to the season. In Colorado’s case, they are also looking at getting star centre Nathan MacKinnon back in the lineup for Wednesday’s contest at Toronto.
Defenceman Ryan Murray is injured for the Avalanche, which will open the door to a Johnson and Johnson third pairing for the Avalanche, with Jack Johnson joining Erik Johnson.
Former Maple Leaf Nazem Kadri leads the Avalanche with 27 points (7 G, 20 A) in 18 games. He has stepped up in MacKinnon’s absence and shown that he can still make a difference in this league.
The Avalanche are 11-6-1. While they are in sixth place in the Central Division, the Avs have multiple games in hand on every team above them in the division.
Here are expected lines for the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday:
Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Nichushkin – Kadri – Burakovsky
Aube-Kubel – Newhook – O’Connor
Helm – Jost – Megna
Toews – Makar
Byram – Girard
J. Johnson – E. Johnson
Toronto Maple Leafs (-132) vs. Colorado Avalanche
Both teams have been playing really well and with the Avalanche getting Nathan MacKinnon back in the lineup, it is hard to favour the Maple Leafs, at least in terms of value. As for the total, the Leafs are probably more inclined to play a tight-checking game, if possible, so the under makes more sense.
Watch on Sportsnet and listen on TSN 1050 in Toronto.
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