Ducks host skidding Maple Leafs
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After a blazing start to the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Anaheim Ducks on a three-game losing streak.
Toronto (7-5-0) has seen the high-octane offense that carried them to their fast start, scoring 34 goals in the team's first seven games, limited to just seven goals during its current three-game losing streak.
"We're not going as good as we could, so we need to find a way to win a game and get rolling again," said Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock.
Toronto is coming off a 3-2 loss at San Jose on Monday that saw the Leafs register just 18 shots on goal and only two in the second period.
"We just got to get out of the funk we are in and play a full 60 minutes," said Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews.
Babcock will make some line-up changes for Wednesday's game at Anaheim. Winger Josh Leivo takes Dominic Moore's spot in the line-up and will play with Nazim Kadri and Leo Komarov. Connor Carrick replaces Roman Polak on defense. Center Tyler Bozak who found himself a spectator for the third period against the Sharks was skating on the fourth line at practice on Tuesday with Mitch Marner and Matt Martin. Patrick Marleau who took Bozak's spot at center for the third period of the Leafs loss at San Jose was centering a line with James Van Riemsdyk and Connor Brown.
"You never want to be the guy that doesn't get out there later in the game when your team needs a goal," said Bozak. "It definitely motivates you. It's just one of those things that happens to everyone."
"It doesn't matter how good a player you are, confidence is the first thing. It's not that Bozak's not trying or putting an effort in. It's that it's not going in for right now," Babcock said. "When things don't go right for him, he owns it."
Anaheim (6-4-1) returns home after winning three of four games on their road trip, including a pair of wins to close out the trip. The Ducks, who won't leave the state of California until they face the Blackhawks in Chicago on November 27, play 12 consecutive games in California with nine of those coming on home ice.
The injury bug continues to plague the Ducks. Captain Ryan Getzlaf who has already spent two separate stints on injured reserve, goes back on the injured list for a third time this season after taking a puck to the face in Sunday's 4-3 shootout victory over Carolina. He will miss at least the next three games.
"You have no control over it (injuries)," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said on Tuesday. "There's no feeling sorry for yourself because there is nobody in the league that's going to feel sorry for you. Everybody has to deal with injuries at their own time."
With Getzlaf out of the line-up, Rickard Rakell will center the top line joined by Corey Perry and Nick Ritchie.
Expect John Gibson to get the start. The Ducks goalie is coming off a 31 save performance at Tampa on Saturday in Anaheim's 4-1 victory over the Lightning. Gibson gave the Ducks a brief scare toward the end of practice on Tuesday when he was seen leaving the ice before the conclusion with an apparent injury.
"He got hit in his private parts, that's what he said to me," a laughing Carlyle said.
Updated October 31, 2017