Game Preview: Leafs face-off against first place Vancouver Canucks

The Toronto Maple Leafs (22-13-8) visit the Vancouver Canucks (30-11-4).

The Leafs are coming off a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames Thursday night. Auston Matthews recorded his fourth hat-trick of the season.

Auston Matthews passed Ron Ellis for fourth on the Maple Leafs all-time goal list with 333. Matthews also ranked third in game-winning goals in Maple Leafs history with 56. Finally, Matthews moved to fourth in Maple Leafs history with his 11th career hat-trick and tied for second for most by a U.S.-born player in NHL history.

The Leafs and Canucks will close out their season series. Toronto won the first meeting 5-2 back in November.

Maple Leafs fans can breathe a little easier after the teams win over the Flames. Toronto has a good record of winning games after having a winless streak. Sportsnet’s Justin Bourne pointed it out on X/Twitter. 

The Vancouver Canucks are the best team in the NHL, sitting at the top of the standings with 64 points.

Vancouver is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

The expected started goalies for the game are Thatcher Demko for the Vancouver Canucks and Martin Jones for Toronto. I expect Ilya Samsonov to get the official start, while Jones could get the nod on Sunday versus his former team, the Seattle Kraken. 

The puck drop for the game is at 7:00 p.m. on Sportsnet/CBC.

Photo Credits: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn

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