Dec 3, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without one of their top scorers tonight when they host San Jose, as center Nazem Kadri (7G, 10A) will miss the game following the death of his grandfather.
Kadri’s absence won’t make things any easier for a Leafs team that finished November with a 4-6-3 record and hasn’t won in its last four.
On top of that, here’s what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks:
To say Toronto’s poor November came as a surprise would, of course, be false. The Leafs have had puck-possession issues all season. In October, they were able to get by with excellent goaltending, special teams and shooting. But that was a way of winning that was unlikely to continue.
Almost amazingly, the Leafs have been out-shot in 23 of their 27 games, yet they’ve still managed to win 14. Only the Buffalo Sabres have been out-possessed more than Toronto, per Extra Skater.
And the Leafs will need more than luck against the teams they’ll be playing shortly. Here are the top 10 teams in a possession statistic called Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts) with the score close:
The Leafs play six of those teams in their next eight games.
Oh, and guess who’s 11th on the list — that would be Dallas, which Toronto hosts Thursday.
The Leafs (14-10-3) currently hold down the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, four points up on New Jersey and five on Philadelphia.
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- Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot 14
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers 69
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 32
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 54
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 14
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 46
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 18
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue 56
- Stanley Cup Final to begin June 3 10
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (77)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (69)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ (54)