LGD: Stepan Up Their Game

Coming off a shootout loss to the 2014-15 Maple Leafs, the Toronto Maple Leafs welcome the New York Rangers to town. The teams are right next to each other in league standings, and boast almost identical records. Neither team is particularly great at possession either. This could be fun. Or it could be a boring game between two meh teams.

THE LEAFS

Carlyle quickly put his old top line together last game, after the injury to Winnik. But I expect he goes back to the new combos that have had some great success this season. Winnik has just been ruled out of tonight’s game, so expect either to see Josh Leivo in his spot, or some juggling of wingers. 

Also, Jake Gardiner is a game-time decision. If he doesn’t play, Percy will take his spot. 

Projected Lines via Daily Faceoff

Winnik – Kadri – Kessel

van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Clarkson

Komarov – Holland – Santorelli

Panik – Carrick – Ashton

Phaneuf – Franson

Rielly – Polak

Gardiner – Robidas

THE RANGERS

Derek Stepan is making his debut tonight, which finally gives the Rangers a legitimate top 6 with players playing where they should be. 

Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle remain out, leaving the Rangers with a pretty bad set of d-men. Lundqvist is going to get some work tonight. 

The Rangers have been trying out Tomas Kaberle – it’s really too bad he isn’t making his debut tonight. That would have been awesome. But! They do have Mike Kostka and Lee Stempniak in the lineup so you know those guys are going to score a goal or two.

Projected Lines via Daily Faceoff

Nash – Brassard – St. Louis

Kreider – Stepan – Zuccarello

Hagelin – Moore – Stempniak

Glass – Hayes – Duclair

Staal – Klein

Allen – Girardi

Hunwick – Kostka

STARTING MODELS

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Derek Stepan’s return not only gives the Rangers their best C back, but it means St. Louis can go back to the wing, where he is very good.
  • Rick Nash scores a lot of goals.
  • My bet on number of articles written about how good Phil Kessel is if he ties the scoring lead tonight? 0. Because he’s a lazy bum that likes food.
  • How many players lose themselves in either goalie’s dashing good looks, ultimately ruining a great chance for them to score a goal because they’re instead dreaming about their chance to score with one of the goalies.