The Leafs were up 4-2 against the Florida Panthers heading into the third last night and ended up losing 6-4, outshot 35-17. It’s a good thing they don’t have to play the next night against the second-best team in the East or anything.
Oh, crap. Well this should be fun.
The Leafs have really struggled lately and are coming off maybe their most embarrassing loss of the year. It’s also the second game in a back-to-back and I’d be willing to bet a hefty sum there is no morning skate. So, it’s very possible the Leafs lines get thrown into a blender tonight against the Bolts and we won’t know what those new lines are until puck-drop. That said, if things don’t get shaken up, here are the expected lines:
Joffrey Lupul-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel
James van Riemsdyk-Nazem Kadri-Mike Santorelli
Daniel Winnik-Peter Holland-David Clarkson
David Booth-Trevor Smith-Carter Ashton
Dion Phaneuf-Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner-Roman Polak
Morgan Rielly-Stephane Robidas
(expected lines via DailyFaceoff.com)
Cedric Paquette-Steven Stamkos-Brett Connolly
Alex Killorn-Valtteri Filpulla-Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat-Tyler Johnson-Nikita Kucherov
Brenden Morrow-Brian Boyle-J.T. Brown
Victor Hedman-Andrej Sustr
Matt Carle-Anton Stralman
Mark Barberio-Radko Gudas
Ben Bishop (.915) is expected to get the start for Tampa Bay.
For Toronto, it’s a pretty interesting scenario. Jonathan Bernier is out for the time-being with the flu and while it’s possible he could play tonight it seems unlikely. James Reimer has played well most of the season but has laid the odd egg. If there was a break between games I would unquestionably go back to Reimer, but given that it’s a back-to-back and the fact that Randy Carlyle doesn’t seem to have a ton of trust in Reimer, it’ll be interesting to see what he does. And just 22 years old, backup Christopher Gibson has never played a second in the NHL. So, do you throw the kid into the fire or go to the guy you don’t trust that much two nights in a row? I’d be inclined to go with Reimer since, you know, it’s James Reimer. But there is a case to be made for Gibson. It’ll be really interesting to see what the coaching staff does.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- I know the point of this post is for me to tell you what the Leafs lines will be tonight, but your guess is really as good as mine. Watch for what the Leafs lines look like and which goalie starts for the Leafs, and whether or not these decisions pay off at all.
- The Leafs have a Corsi over 42.2% just 3 times in their last 11 games. That needs to improve and hopefully that improvement starts tonight.