Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser has made quite the impression during his short time in the NHL, but the 20-year-old will look to leave his mark on former teammate-turned-adversary in Auston Matthews and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The two, who were roommates at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships, helped Team USA skate to a bronze medal.
“I’ll try and shut him down,” said Boeser, who has recorded 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in the past nine games and was named NHL Rookie of the Month for November. He scored two goals and set up another on Thursday as Vancouver snapped a three-game skid with a 5-3 victory over Nashville to conclude a six-game road trip with a 3-2-1 mark. Toronto got off to a fast start to its three-game trek through Western Canada, following up Tuesday’s 4-1 triumph at Calgary with a 6-4 win over Edmonton two nights later. Matthews had an assist in the first contest before scoring and setting up a goal against the Oilers to extend his point streak to four games (one goal, four assists).
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBC, CITY
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (17-9-1): William Nylander posted his first three-point performance of the season and fourth career with a one-goal, two-assist effort versus the Oilers. Fourth-liners Matt Martin and Dominic Moore have collected five points (one goal, four assists) over the last five games, but Mitch Marner has gone ice-cold again after a recent warm stretch. The 20-year-old answered a seven-point performance over five games by being held off the scoresheet in each of his last five contests.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (12-10-4): The Sedin twins continued their recent offensive surges with three-point performances versus the Predators, lifting Henrik’s total to eight points (all assists) in his last six games while Daniel has seven (three goals, four assists) in that stretch. Both Sedins netted a goal in Vancouver’s 6-3 loss to Toronto on Nov. 5 while Henrik set up Daniel’s tally to open the scoring in a 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs on Dec. 3, 2016. Fellow forward Loui Eriksson tallied twice to increase his point total to nine (five goals, four assists) in his last seven.
1. Nine of Matthews’ team-leading 13 goals have come on the road, where the Maple Leafs own a 9-4-1 record.
2. Vancouver has scored 10 power-play goals in the last nine games after going 2-for-16 with the man advantage in the previous six.
3. Toronto D Jake Gardiner has collected five points (one goal, four assists) over his last four games and has two multi-assist performances in that span.
PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 5, Canucks 2