Leafs go for 5th straight
The Toronto Maple Leafs (17-9-3) are playing the second of two back to back home games as they host the Los Angles Kings (15-10-5) on Sunday. Toronto is coming off a win Saturday defeating the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 and continuing a string of recent success.
The Leafs have now won seven of their last eight games at home with 12 home wins total. They are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for most wins at home in the NHL this season. Toronto has won 12 of their first 19 home games for the first time since 2001-02 when they started 13-5-1 at their home rink.
Toronto's strong play has led them to hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern conference posting a 8-1-1 record over the last 10 games.
It won't be easy for the Leafs as they have dropped the last four meetings with the Kings at the Air Canada Centre. The Kings have been having some difficulty lately, losing 6-2 to the Canadiens in their last outing and losing three of their last five.
Flames try to bounce back
The Calgary Flames (17-12-2) are trying to avoid a fifth straight loss as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks (20-9-1) at the United Center. The Flames have lost the first three games of their four game road trip and will be looking for a chance to end things positively.
To do that, the Flames will need to convert the ample shots they send to the net into some goals. In the last four games, Calgary has outshot their opponents 140-100 while being outscored 14-7. They lost all four games.
Calgary can do it, as this latest trend of high shots and low goals has not been the usual this season. Calgary started the year with strong goal-scoring, earning 3.11 goals per game over the first 27 games of the season, good enough for fifth best in the NHL. Over the same 27 game stretch, they had the third lowest shots on goal average in the NHL with 26.6.
Players like Flames defenceman Mark Giordano, who leads NHL D-men in points with 30, will have to keep thinking offence to help Calgary put the puck in the net. Brampton, Ont. native Sean Monahan leads the Flames with 11 goals this season so look for him to add to his tally.
The teams have met twice this season, each earning a win.
Oilers search for wins continues
At least it can't get any worse, right?
That's what they're hoping in oil-country tonight where the Edmonton Oilers (7-18-5) are hosting the New York Rangers (13-10-4) in another opportunity to turn things around.
Every journey starts with a single step, so why not tonight? It might have something to do with the fact that Edmonton has dropped four of their last five, have won only one of their last 10 and sit with the least points in the NHL with 19, tied with Carolina.
So there's all that, but why not be optimistic?
They have won more than twice as many games at home than on the road with five at Rexall Place compared to only two out of town. And don't forget, the Oilers do much better against teams from the Eastern conference this season, posting a 6-3-1 record, much better than the 1-15-4 record they've earned facing Western conference teams. On top of that, they beat the Rangers the last time they met on Nov. 9 by a score of 3-1.
Tonight just might be Edmonton's night.
The NHL asked if the Oilers would win Sunday in a tweet.
And the Oilers said the eight ball was telling them yes! Good sign.