The Maple Leafs will be looking to enter the month of December on a winning note. The team will finish the month of November with back to back games against the Buffalo Sabres. December will only feature five home games for the Maple Leafs while also including eight road games. If the Maple Leafs can win their final road game of November on Friday, than the team will be .500 on the road.
The first half of December is a road game heavy schedule for the Maple Leafs. On December 3rd we will see the Maple Leafs in Philadelphia to play the Flyers for the final time this season. Then the team will return home to Toronto to host the Colorado Avalanche on December 4th. The game against the Avalanche will feature Nazem Kadri’s return to Toronto after being traded in the summer. Kadri spent parts of ten seasons playing over 500 games for the Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs will then go on a four game road trip. First they will stop in St. Louis on December 7th for a game against the Blues. It will be the second and final meeting against the Stanley Cup Champions. Next up on the schedule is a trip through western Canada to play Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. The Maple Leafs can expect plenty of fan support for all three games. The toughest test will be against Connor McDavid and the Pacific Division leading Edmonton Oilers.
The second half of December will see the Maple Leafs play four games at home and three on the road. The Maple Leafs will play host to the Sabres on December 17th and follow that up with another weekend of back to back games. The first game in the back to back will see the Maple Leafs in New York on December 20th to play the Rangers. The next night will see the Maple Leafs back at home to host the Detroit Red Wings.
The Maple Leafs will stay at home to play the Carolina Hurricanes on December 23rd and then have three days off for the Christmas break. After the break they will play back to back games, starting with a game in New Jersey against the Devils on December 27th. On December 28th the Maple Leafs will return home to host the Rangers. The Maple Leafs will end the month on December 31st with a New Years Eve road game in Minnesota against the Wild.
It has been noted that the St. Louis Blues have been scouting the Maple Leafs recently. As to which players the Blues have been scouting is unknown. With their star winger Vladimir Tarasenko injured and not expected back until April, the Blues are looking for a scoring winger. Depending on which player(s) the Maple Leafs would want in return, I would say that Kasperi Kapanen is the most expendable. Kapanen is on the first year of a three year deal. The deal has a yearly salary cap hit of $3.2 million.
November saw the Maple Leafs lose six games in a row. It also saw the team fire their head coach Mike Babcock. The Maple Leafs have responded well under new head coach Sheldon Keefe. The team is riding a three game win streak heading into their final two games of November. With more practice time under coach Keefe, the Maple Leafs will look to continue their winning ways into December. We will also see the return of Mitch Marner in December which should improve the team’s chances of having a successful month.
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