Sat, 17 Nov 2018
33
Pittsburgh

Maple Leafs look to start new streak against Blues

Sports Xchange
20 Oct 2018, 11:03 GMT+10

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs will be out to regain momentum Saturday night and the St. Louis Blues would like to start some momentum of their own.

The Maple Leafs (6-2-0) had a five-game winning streak end Thursday night with a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and will be trying to resume winning when they host the Blues (1-3-2).

"We're obviously (upset) and disappointed that we didn't get the result," said Maple Leafs center John Tavares, who took seven shots Thursday. "It's a good learning opportunity and it's a good test now to try to find that momentum back and get back in the win column."

The Blues have lost twice in overtime and could not hold third-period leads three times. The Montreal Canadiens defeated them 3-2 Wednesday on Brendan Gallagher's goal at 19:49 of the third period.

"Bottom line, we're faced with some adversity right now," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "For me, this is when we'll really see what people have to bring. This is when you really say something to your teammates. This is when you really show your character.

"Obviously, I've got to do a better job as head coach, making sure we're prepared to play, making sure we're ready to play the right way. Making sure that guys who aren't, are held accountable. And making sure that we get the right guys on the ice."

St. Louis can take some encouragement knowing that both Toronto losses came at home.

The game will also be a homecoming for former Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak, who signed as a free agent with the Blues on July 1. He has one goal and one assist in six games this season.

"He's a real good hockey player, real good hockey sense, real good faceoff guy, good in the power play," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said Friday at practice. "I thought his last year here was his best in the three years that I had him and obviously he'll be an important part for them."

Bozak played between Pat Maroon and Alexander Steen for the first time in Montreal and that line could remain intact for the game Saturday. They line combined for eight shots on goal.

In a Thursday practice in Toronto, two-time All-Star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was used on the fourth pairing with Jakub Jerabek, leading to speculation that he might not play against the Maple Leafs.

"Obviously, we're considering everything right now," Yeo said. "Again, the results that we're getting, we have to consider everything."

Bouwmeester, 35, was limited to 35 games last season because of a fractured ankle and a hip injury that resulted in surgery.

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, had more than a winning streak stopped Thursday. Center Auston Matthews had at least two points in each of the first seven games until Thursday when the Maple Leafs were shut out for the first time this season. He has 10 goals and six assists despite being without a goal in his past two games.

One of the keys to the Penguins' success Thursday was that they kept the Maple Leafs on the outside, limiting close-in chances so that many of Toronto's 38 shots (Pittsburgh took 39) were not dangerous.

"I think there are a lot of things that we can improve on," Matthews said. "It seems like they were just calm, cool, collected out there. They didn't run around, they just played smart and didn't force anything and made plays. It seemed like they had us running around quite a bit."

The Maple Leafs were in it until the Penguins scored twice on an empty net.

"I think we've got to do a little better just sustaining some of the momentum we create," Tavares said.

More Pittsburgh News

Access More

Sign up for Pittsburgh News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!