Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Phoenix Coyotes - 12/19/13
Phoenix Coyotes (18-10-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (17-16-3)
NHL Hockey: Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Air Canada Centre)
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs +105 / Phoenix Coyotes -116 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The Maple Leafs look to shake off an ugly effort on Tuesday night against the Panthers when they host the Coyotes on Thursday.
Phoenix heads into the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night looking to end their mini two game slide and propel themselves back into the mix in the Pacific division and they catch a Leafs team who has been painful to watch of late. This is a rare trip east for the Coyotes who don’t find themselves in Toronto very often but there is always a homecoming of sorts for these games as a number of guys are from the area and grew up cheering for the blue and white. They will have to put their childhood allegiances aside for one night and with family on hand the visitors will look to continue Toronto’s losing ways that played arguably their worst game of the year against Florida on Tuesday. Mike Smith will get getting the call in goal for the Coyotes as he goes up against Jonathan Bernier for the Leafs.
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
The Leafs looked great last Saturday night against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks which seemingly vindicated their losing ways in their worst stretch of games of the season but Tuesday night reiterated the Leafs are still a ways from where they’d like to be. Toronto came out flat against a very underwhelming Panthers team who to their credit have been playing much better if late but should be nowhere near the Leafs in terms of competition level. Leafs goalie James Reimer was critical of his team’s effort and many in the dressing room resonated with the gloomy atmosphere in what was surely a frustrating night on all accounts. Toronto knows they need to come out and give a stellar effort in this one as they prepare for a weekend outing against the Red Wings in what is a preview of the 2014 Winter Classic from the Big House in Ann Arbor. However this is a tough spot for the Leafs as I don’t expect them to be too fired up to be laying Phoenix and the Coyotes are a scrappy bunch that should keep the Leafs offense at bay.