Preview: Maple Leafs at Red Wings
A change behind the bench appears to have stemmed the tailspin of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were mired in a six-game losing streak when coach Mike Babcock was dismissed last Wednesday. The Maple Leafs responded by winning two in a row under Sheldon Keefe and look to sustain the momentum when they visit the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
Toronto, which scored three times in the third period in a 5-2 victory at Detroit on Oct. 12, has had three days off since knocking off Colorado. "We'll work on some things and continue to grow the group," Keefe said. "I'll get a chance to grow my relationships with individual players and to me that's a priority right now." The NHL-worst Red Wings staggered through a 1-11-1 stretch before winning three in a row, but they are mired in another ugly skid, suffering their sixth straight defeat in Sunday's 2-0 home loss to Carolina. "We've had a lot of games here, we need to reset and have a great workday Tuesday and then come and play our best game of the year on Wednesday," center Dylan Larkin said.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario (Toronto), FS Detroit
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (11-10-4): Veteran Jason Spezza, centering the third line of Kasperi Kapanen and Nic Petan at Tuesday's practice, has three goals and six points in seven games this month after collecting only two assists in game games in October. "Yeah, we like to call him ‘vintage’ around here," captain John Tavares said of the 36-year-old Spezza. "He’s got so much game still left.” Forward Alexander Kerfoot will serve the first of a two-game suspension on Wednesday for boarding Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (7-16-3): Sunday's loss to Carolina was Detroit's first game without leading goal scorer Anthony Mantha, who was expected to miss at least a week after suffering a lower-body injury in Saturday's loss at New Jersey. However, at Tuesday's practice, coach Jeff Blashill said Mantha is expected to be sidelined for at least a couple more weeks. "It's harder for sure," Blashill said. "He won't be skating anytime soon in the next few weeks. It's harder. When you have an upper body you can keep your legs."
1. Maple Leafs F Auston Matthews has scored only three of his 16 goals on the road.
2. Red Wings F Adam Erne (hand) practiced on Tuesday and said he is hopeful of rejoining the lineup.
3. Maple Leafs G Frederik Andersen is 8-0-1 with a 2.53 goals-against average versus Detroit.
PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 4, Red Wings 2