Less than 24 hours after being named the Toronto Maple Leafs new head coach, Randy Carlyle has helped his squad snap a six-game losing streak. Toronto, who slipped all the way down to 12th place in the Eastern Conference prior to Saturday’s game, earned a 3-1 victory over the rival Montreal Canadiens.
Although goaltending was a big issue for Toronto last month, that certainly wasn’t the case for them on Saturday. Jonas Gustavsson was given the first chance to make a good impression on the new bench boss and rose to the occasion. He kicked out 21 of 22 shots to earn his first victory since Jan. 21.
Toronto outshot the Canadiens in every period, but things got far more lopsided in the final 20 minutes with the Leafs getting 17 shots to Montreal’s five. Mikhail Grabovski scored two goals and ended his 14-game goal scoring drought in the process. Grabovski also got the lone assist on Matt Frattin’s sixth goal of the season.
On the Canadiens side of thing, Carey Price saved 39 shots, but he still ended up with his fifth loss in his last six starts. Meanwhile, David Desharnais registered an assist to extend his point streak to four games.
Toronto has to get hot if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs and that’s a tall order given their upcoming opponents. Toronto will play against Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington next week. Anything less than three wins in those four games will likely be seen as a setback that the Leafs can ill afford at this point in the season.
For Montreal, their chances of making the playoffs have come and gone. Although they are not mathematically out of the race, they have no realistic shot of going from last to eighth place in the Eastern Conference in the final month of the season.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer