Leafs Versus Nashville Versus The Odds

No, not the Vancouver Rock band. You know, The Odds. Odds are Wade Belak will be inserted into the lineup. If you haven't seen the article on Wade Belak now being the longest in the NHL without a goal, it goes like this. Wade Belak hasn't scored a goal in 121 NHL contests which makes him the non-scoring King after Derek Boogaard scored against the Oilers and broke a 235 game drought(if that's what it is when a 265 lb bruiser doesn't score for a while). The record is 255 games. Odds are Belak will score on the Leafs.

The Predators have won 2 in a row after dropping 5 consecutive prior to that. Coming into Tuesday's game the Preds have scored 11 goals in the last 3 games. The Leafs will need to get some better goaltending in the last 8 minutes of the game to get some points. The 64+ foot shot that beat Giguere will put some pressure on him to settle down right after the puck drops. Odds are he'll play well again, as he hasn't had a real stinker this year and seems to be playing pretty confident(which may have lead to the goal in the first place).

Steve Sullivan will be in town Tuesday. He has 9 points in 15 games and is one of the only plus players on the team. Odds are he's due for a multi-point night, as the Leafs usually have a cure for what's ailing the opposition. In this case, it's a slow start for the Preds offense overall. The difference between the Preds futility and the Leafs is that the Preds have put together 3 brief winning streaks that have them in the thick of 8 teams that have 17 through 20 points and 6th place through 12th. The Short version of that sentence; win 3 in a row and the Preds are in 8th. If the Leafs win 3 in a row they might get into 10th or 11th place in the East. Odds are they won't.

The Predators would be a great place to start a streak, though. The Leafs have been historically good at ending streaks of other teams, whether it's no-business wins against contenders on a win streak or the Edmonton Oilers on an infinity losing streak. Odds are the Leafs could squeak a tight game out tomorrow and get at least a point. Then move on to slap around the terrible New Jersey Devils. The Leafs always seem to get it up for the Habs on a Saturday, which could garner another single point. These points all depend on a much higher commitment to positional play. It's the middle of November now and there really isn't any more room for talk of new guys not being used to the "systems". The only real system I've seen this season is when Mike Zigomanis was winning faceoffs on the penalty kill and the Leafs weren't letting in goals 3 seconds after the PK started. Other than that, the forwards positional play has been horrendous, with the wingers standing around when the puck is in their own end. The Leafs forwards' ineptitude at clearing the zone has returned from last year, as well. Possession 3 inches inside the blue line turning into a goal is unacceptable at this level(who am I kidding, at the JR level).

We've all heard this and are getting sick of it, but the Leafs need some scoring. One of the things I liked about Kris Versteeg when he was in Chicago is he was an interesting interview. Now he is coming off as aloof and uncaring. Quit talking about having fun and get professional. As a fan who pays to watch, I would like to have a little fun myself. Odds are, I won't this week.

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