NHL Hockey

0
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Toronto 0 0 0 0
Nashville 1 0 2 3
3
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET21:00 BRT, March 19, 2019
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee  Attendance: 17,499

Leafs try to right ship against Predators

Toronto Maple Leafs at Nashville Predators

  1. Toronto was shut out by Nashville in these teams' first meeting this season, 3-0. However, Toronto has gone 5-3-1 all-time in Nashville, scoring twice on the power play in each of their last two road games against the Preds.
  2. The Maple Leafs have allowed 23 goals over their last four games (5.75 per game), losing three of those four. Only six other teams have allowed as many goals over a four-game span this season, and the Maple Leafs have not allowed as many over a four-game stretch since 2009.
  3. With a goal and an assist on Saturday, John Tavares now has 11 points in March. He is one of seven skaters with a double-digit point total in every month this season.
  4. Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals on Saturday and his 31 goals this season tie his career-high mark, set in 2016-17. His 0.63 goals per game trail only Alex Ovechkin (0.68) for highest in the NHL this season (minimum 40 games played).
  5. Morgan Reilly scored his 20th goal of the season last time out, five more than any other defensemen in the NHL. He has scored five goals over eight games in March after scoring six combined in December, January and February.
  6. Nashville, which entered the month of March converting just 12.2 percent of power-play opportunities, has posted a 23.5 power-play percentage thus far in March. This improvement (+11.3 percent) from before March to March is the largest in the NHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Nashville Predators are hoping to make long playoff runs, but they are currently functioning on different levels.

The Maple Leafs stagger into Nashville for a game Tuesday having allowed 23 goals while losing three of their past four games, including a 6-2 face-plant against the lowly Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

The Predators, meanwhile, are returning home after defeating the San Jose Sharks 4-2 on Saturday.

"I think looking at our situation and where we want to go and where we want to get to, you could put that under the biggest win of the season for sure," Predators center Ryan Johansen said.

The Predators (41-27-5) still have a chance to catch the Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division.

"It's not in our division, but it's huge," Predators right winger Viktor Arvidsson said after scoring twice in San Jose. "They (the Sharks) played for something too, for clinching (a playoff spot), and we needed this one. We really had to win this one to hang on in the race for the Central. I think we played a great game."

Arvidsson has matched his career best with 31 goals this season despite missing 21 games with a broken thumb.

"I feel like I kind of choose my shots a little bit (better) this year and hold onto the puck a little bit more than in years before, (when) I shot from the boards," he told The Tennessean. "I try to pull up and find something else and get open again. Shoot it in a better position. That's something I've tried to work on and think about."

Said Predators coach Peter Laviolette: "I think he takes whatever he can get. If it's quality, it's quality. He puts himself in a position to find space and ... his speed allows him to find space. He has a terrific shot. That plays into it as well."

The Maple Leafs are looking for answers after a difficult week in which they lacked some of the basics for playoff success, such as defense, commitment and emotion.

The Maple Leafs (43-24-5) are playing for playoff positioning and a potential home-ice advantage in the first round.

"We talked pre-game (in Ottawa) about preparing for playoffs," said Morgan Rielly, who became the third defenseman in Maple Leafs history to reach 20 goals Saturday. "If anything, we should be amping it up now, using these games to prepare for what's to come. Moving forward, we're going to use our remaining games, take them very seriously. There are points on the line."

The Maple Leafs could use some help from the return of injured defenseman Travis Dermott (shoulder), who is closer to being ready than defenseman Jake Gardiner (back). Right winger Kasperi Kapanen (concussion) missed the game in Ottawa but practiced Monday and is expected to play.

"Any way you look at it, we've had a tough week," Maple Leafs center John Tavares said.

"And we haven't been good enough. We've given up way too many goals. You can't dig the puck out of the net like we have and have success. Bottom line is, we all know how to play defense, we all know where to stand and we're not doing a good enough job."

Toronto center Frederik Gauthier (foot) will not play.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 18, 2019

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