Who are these guys? What do they want? [Game #42 preview - TOR]

Smythulence!

Who are they? The Toronto Maple Leafs (For the view from the other side of the fence, please visit the fantastic Pension Plan Puppets blog.)

What do they want?  To keep their win streak going, and to finish much higher than they did last year.  They'd also like some more firepower up front.  (If top line forwards grew on trees, Burke and Lombardi would be camping out in that forest and getting into fistfights.)

What's their ****ing problem?  Injured: Mike Brown (finger); John Mitchell (knee); J. S. Giguere (groin).  Sjostrom is also doubtful.  Update: Colby Armstrong (who has a smashed eye after being sucker-punched by Ben Eager) might play with a visor tonight.

Who the **** do they think they areA much different team than the one which faced the Kings on Jan. 26th, 2010 -- shortly afterward, a massive multi-player deal with the Flames and another trade with the Ducks transformed their roster.  And that was only the beginning.  (IN) Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom, Keith Aulie, Jean-Sebastien Giguere; Kris Versteeg, Mike Brown, Brett Lebda, Clarke MacArthur, Colby Armstrong, Joey Crabb (OUT) Jamal Mayers, Matt Stajan, Ian White, Niklas Hagman, Vesa "The Man-pursed Nightmare" Toskala, Jason Blake; Alexei Ponikarovsky, Wayne Primeau, Rickard Wallin, Garnet Exelby, Jamie Lundmark, Mike Van Ryn.

What, are we supposed to be scared?  Ask the Atlanta Thrashers, who just got pasted 9-3.  Or the Blues, who lost a wild game 6-5 in a shootout.  Forget the standings -- things are clicking for them right now, and the Kings are just looking to put a solid 60 minutes of effort together.

The line of MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin is one to watch -- Mikhail Grabovski has 12 goals in his last 14 games, and is now tied with Phil Kessel with the goal-scoring lead at 17.  Tomas Kaberle leads the team in assists (27).  Though he's only played a few games, rookie goaltender James Reimer has filled in admirably (2-1-0, .947 SV%, 1.87 GAA) and will play again tonight.  

I thought we were friends! Ex-Kings: none, though fan rumors would like there to be; Ex-Leaf: Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Yeah, well, wait till they get a load of: Jonathan Quick.  All eyes will be on him, waiting to see if he can bounce back after a poor showing in the latter half of the Columbus game.  He followed up a similar gaffe-filled effort against the Wild with a shutout of Detroit.  Let's hope he can make amends again.  Other players to watch: expect Kyle Clifford, Wayne Simmonds, and Kevin Westgarth to provide some truculence of their own.  Ryan Smyth, who provided a crucial goal in the third on Saturday, now has 17 goals on the year.
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