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Canucks Game Day: A day (and night) to remember against the Toronto Maple Leafs

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
7 months ago
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The Vancouver Canucks skate onto one of the biggest stages in hockey when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena. The Canucks have won five straight and have picked up points in nine in a row (8-0-1). They’ll try to post a double-digit point streak for the first time in over a decade tonight.
Tonight’s match-up features the NHL’s points leader Elias Pettersson (24) and the league’s leading goal-scorer Auston Matthews (13). More than that, the game includes three of the top five scorers in the league, two of the top four goal scorers and three of the nine highest scoring defensemen in the league.
After an optional workout Friday, the Canucks held a full morning skate in Toronto this morning. Thatcher Demko returns to the net and looks to match a career-best with his seventh straight victory tonight. He had the night off in Ottawa and hasn’t played since stopping 40 of 42 shots in Monday’s 6-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Otherwise, it looks like the Canucks will continue with a winning line-up and won’t make any changes to the group that started the road trip with a victory in the nation’s capital.
Brock Boeser and JT Miller have both scored in consecutive games. Miller had the winner in Ottawa on Thursday and has scored in six of the Canucks last seven outings. Filip Hronek looks to extend his point streak to nine games. The defender has 0+11=11 in his last eight contests. On the eve of his 25th birthday, Elias Pettersson will try to push his point streak to eight games (5+9=14).
While the Canucks are the highest scoring team in the league (59 goals), more impressively they are second only to Boston in terms of the 26 goals they have surrendered. And that includes just one third period goal against on the team’s five game win streak – San Jose’s lone goal in the Canucks 10-1 romp on November 2nd.
The Leafs are right back to work after a 5-4 shootout win over Calgary on home ice last night. William Nylander had a power play goal and the first short-handed goal of his career plus an assist to lead the way. Nylander extended his point streak to 14 games (9+12=21). Four of the Leafs last seven games have extended beyond regulation time.
Auston Matthews has been a goal-scoring menace since he broke into the NHL. He has scored in bunches against a lot of teams – including the Canucks. In fact, the league’s top marksman has been basically unstoppable for Vancouver defenders in recent years. 
Tonight’s game wraps up a five-game homestand for Toronto. For the first time in franchise history, the Leafs have allowed four or more goals in their first eight home games of the season.
Because they played last night, the Leafs did not hold a morning skate. However, earlier in the week head coach Sheldon Keefe outlined his goaltending plans for the weekend and said Ilya Samsonov would get the start in goal against the Canucks. Samsonov was given the hook after four goals on 12 shots and 15:13 of action in his last start on Monday against Tampa Bay. He is 2-1-2 on the season, but has not won a game since a 7-4 victory over Minnesota on October 14th.
Also, AHL call-up Bobby McMann will replace Ryan Reaves in the Leafs line-up tonight while John Klingberg returns from a one-game absence on defence.
Tonight’s Referees: Dan O’Rourke and Beau Halkidis

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