LGD: Game 81 – The Show Must Go On

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“The Show Must Go On” is probably an appropriate title for today’s Leafs Game Day post. Many of my coworkers at CBC received some pretty disheartening though not unexpected news today that the CBC will be making massive cuts. But what happens now? Does everyone just go home? No. The show must go on.

With context to the Leafs, they are out of playoff contention. But guess what? There are still two games left. The show must go on, and tonight it does, against the Florida Panthers.

LEAFS LINEUP COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM

James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel

Carter Ashton – Nazem Kadri – David Clarkson

Mason Raymond – Nikolai Kulemin – Troy Bodie

Jerry D’Amigo – Jay McClement – “Paul Ranger”

Not a whole lot of change here. Carter Ashton continues to get his mini-audition on the second line with Nazem Kadri and David Clarkson. Paul Ranger remains the “7th” defenceman, not that the “7th” label means much. Ice time is an in-game decision. 

A new face of defence, though…

Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf

Morgan Rielly – Jake Gardiner

Petter Granberg – Tim Gleason

First and foremost, the wonder twins of Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner are together. Whose absence necessitates this move? Cody Franson. He has been allegedly battling injuries all season long. Slotting into the lineup for his first career NHL game? Petter Granberg. Before the season began, we here at TLN ranked Granberg 8th among all Leafs prospects. Some might wonder why 2011 first-rounder Stuart Percy wasn’t selected instead. Part of the reason might be Franson is a right-handed shot and so is Granberg. If you’re wondering how he got here, Granberg is a Leafs 4th-rounder from 2010. For a team that may or may not be considering firing Dave Nonis, the system is crawling with Brian Burke picks.

PANTHERS LINEUP COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM

Sean Bergenheim – Nick Bjugstad – Brad Boyes

Tomas Fleischmann – Vincent Trochek – Scottie Upshall

Jonathan Huberdeau – Drew Shore – Jesse Winchester

Quinton Howden – Brandon Pirri – Jimmy Hayes

Speaking of Leafs picks, there are two playing up front for the Panthers. There’s Jimmy Hayes, who was originally selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and Brad Boyes, the 24th overall pick in the 2000 draft. The pick after Boyes? Steve Ott. Two picks after Boyes? Nations contributor and former NHLer Brian Sutherby. Four picks after Boyes? LA Kings Corsi-God Justin Williams. Five picks after? Red Wings thumper Niklas Kronwall. It’s fun to look back. Sorta.

Dmitry Kulikov – Brian Campbell

Erik Gudbranson – Ed Jovanovski

Dylan Olsen – Colby Robak

Yes, Jovo-Cop is still in the NHL. In fact, I’ve heard from several people that regardless of where his actual playing skill set is, he’s an awesome presence in what is still a pretty young organization.

STARTING GOALIES

Mr. Twitter Monster himself aka Strombone aka Roberto Luongo will be playing in net for the Panthers. Somebody send that last sentence back in time to eight months to a Leafs and/or Canucks fan to make them faint.

Starting for the Leafs – Drew MacIntyre! Some might resent this decision and want Reimer to continue to run with it but I think this is great. Drew MacIntyre has played professional hockey since 2003-04 in four different leagues for thirteen different teams, but he has never started an NHL game before. He’s been great with the Marlies, you’re out of playoff contention – give him a shot. Jeffler wrote about his first NHL start, as well as Petter Granberg’s NHL debut, earlier today.

Tonight’s Leafs-Panthers game starts at 7:30pm eastern on Leafs TV.