LGD: Big and Bad

Leo Komarov and Jonathan Bernier should make their return to the lineup tonight as the Leafs continue this nightmare of a road trip into Boston. 

It’ll be the third time the teams meet this season, after splitting the previous two outings. The Leafs were embarrassed at home in October before dumping the Bruins in November, the latter of which was arguably their best effort of the entire season.

Heading into the new year, both teams are basically right on the dotted line for playoff contention, with the Leafs tumbling recently but clinging to a wild card spot, while Boston is looking to break in and bump them out. It looks like it’s been a weird season for the Bruins so far as they’ve been hanging around ninth in the conference for a while, which I guess is partly due to Rask being somewhat human (.911 sv%). Either way, they’re always a dangerous team, and remain in the top half of the league in terms of possession (51.4% CF at evens) so I still expect them to be in the playoffs in April. 

The Leafs

Leafs lines via DailyFaceoff

van Riemsdyk – The Dream – Santorelli

Lupul – Bozak – Kessel 

Booth – Holland – Clarkson

Ashton – Smith – Winnik

Phaneuf – Franson

Gardiner – Polak

Rielly – Holzer

These lines will change if the Corporal is good to go, likely with Ashton being taken out. But Komarov still needs doctor’s clearance, so we’ll see what happens. 

If he gets the green light, we could see something like this, according to Siegel:

Maybe I should have just put a question mark in this section and left it at that. Everyone will probably be too drunk to care anyway. Happy New Year!

The Bruins

Bruins lines via DailyFaceoff

Marchand – Krejci – Smith

Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson

Paille – Campbell – Caron

Lindblad – Cunningham – Griffith

Chara – Hamilton

Bartkowski – Seidenberg

Krug – Miller

This lineup could change substantially, as it appears Lucic and Bergeron will be game-time decisions after practicing with the team yesterday. Both missed the Bruins’ win against the Wings on Monday.

Starting goalies

rask

bernier

What to look for

  • Apparently Bozak loves playing the Bruins, as he has four points against them already this season. Stay on the lookout for him to add more tonight. The upside for this kid is just incredible.
  • As mentioned above, keep an eye out for lineup changes, as Komarov, Lucic and Bergeron are all notable game-time decisions. Could be some major juggling going on there.
  • This is the first time the Leafs will face Zdeno Chara this season. 

Let’s end this off with some words of wisdom from my main man JB. He might not know who Nelson Mandela was, but he understands how you win hockey games. 

    • STAN

      JvR, Kadri and Santorelli has been the Leafs best line of late. Why break it up now? Makes no sense. But then we ARE talking Carlyle Coaching 101 here.

      Sure hope Shanonis is calling all GMs about trades.

    • STAN

      I can almost forgive the last two games, if the Leafs can just beat the Bruins tonight.

      The games against the Bruins are the one that matter most to me.

      I hate the Bruins…oh do hate them!

      I still remember the dirty elbow from Chris Kelly on JVR, which wasn’t called and could have been the difference in the third period of game 7.

      Come on boys, avenge the game 7 loss again!

      We owe these jerks their comeuppance.

    • STAN

      I am excited for that grinding line, but I rather see

      JVR – Kadri – Kessel

      Lupul – Bozak – Winnik

      Leo – Holland – Santo

      Booth – Smith – Clarkson

      When Panik returns, smith leaves. Winnik is the fourth line centre, then panik moves to the second line, or santo moves to the second and panik to the third.