LGD: Hockey Dad in Toronto

Back when the Leafs were somewhat competitive and had even the faintest hopes of the playoffs this late in the season, we’d call a matchup like tonight’s – against Jaromir Jagr and the Panthers – a mid-week trap game. It’s a game you should have in the bag in your march toward trying to secure a playoff spot, but as a fan you just know it won’t play out that way.

Well, times change, and tonight the shoe is on the other foot. It’s the Leafs’ turn to try to surprise, and perhaps mess things up for Florida a little. The Panthers aren’t in any trouble playoff-wise, but they head into tonight’s game with a very tight lead at the top of the Atlantic, sitting a point up on Boston and just a pair from third-seeded Tampa. They’ll want this game as much as any other, and with the Leafs riding a mini-streak and looking strong over the last few games, it shouldn’t be easy. 

The Leafs


Toronto has called up Connor Brown from the Marlies on an emergency basis, as it looks like Leo is out with an injury. As Jonas Siegel from the AP notes, Brown will be the tenth Leaf this season to make his NHL debut.


Defensive Pairings
Morgan Rielly 
Morgan Rielly
Martin Marincin 
Martin Marincin
Jake Gardiner 
Jake Gardiner
Connor Carrick 
Connor Carrick
Rinat Valiev 
Rinat Valiev
Frank Corrado 
Frank Corrado

The Panthers

As we noted earlier, Florida has one of the best records in the conference. But they’ve seen their performance called into question a fair bit over the course of the season, as they currently operate in the bottom half of the league in terms of score-adjusted Corsi percentage. There’s been plenty of debate over whether they’re a real contender.

Defensive Pairings
Dmitry Kulikov 
Dmitry Kulikov
Aaron Ekblad 
Aaron Ekblad
Brian Campbell 
Brian Campbell
Alex Petrovic 
Alex Petrovic
Jakub Kindl 
Jakub Kindl
Steve Kampfer 
Steve Kampfer

Starting Goaltenders

What to watch for

  • The youth movement rolls on, and Connor Brown will be interesting to watch as he joins the rest of the kids tonight
  • Jaromir Jagr, the god of hockey
  • Jonathan Bernier has a nice little stretch going the past couple games. Let’s see if he can continue to bring up his save-percentage in these last few weeks.