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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

LGD: Win and you’re in

The Toronto Maple Leafs are two points away from making the playoffs in an 82-game season for the first time since 2004. Somewhat fittingly, Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup that season. Unlike Tuesday night where they needed a Tampa Bay Lightning loss (they did) as well as a victory of their own (they didn’t), the Leafs now control their own destiny and can both earn a little “x” next to their name in the standings if they can find a way to win the game tonight. And oh yeah, they also have the opportunity to knock out the Tampa Bay Lightning if the Bolts earn anything less than a regulation or overtime win.

The Leafs are 2-1 this season against the Lightning, coming back with 3-2 and 5-0 wins after a 7-3 loss in their first matchup of the season.

Leafs fans will also be keeping their eyes on the Islanders/Hurricanes matchup, though it could end up having no meaning at all if they’re just able to pull through in this one.

The Leafs

Lines courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

LW C RW
Zach Hyman
Zach Hyman
Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews
William Nylander
William Nylander
Leo Komarov
Leo Komarov
Nazem Kadri
Nazem Kadri
Connor Brown
Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk
James van Riemsdyk
Tyler Bozak
Tyler Bozak
Mitchell Marner
Mitchell Marner
Matt Martin
Matt Martin
Brian Boyle
Brian Boyle
Kasperi Kapanen
Kasperi Kapanen
Defensive Pairings
Morgan Rielly
Morgan Rielly
Connor Carrick
Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner
Jake Gardiner
Nikita Zaitsev
Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick
Matt Hunwick
Roman Polak
Roman Polak

Brian Boyle is back against his former team, which is nice considering he left Tuesday’s game with an injury. Josh Leivo and Nikita Soshnikov remain injured, lowering the game total of Nikita’s to 2 and Josh’s to 0. Other than that, the Leafs are healthy through the rest of their lineup, and ice what’s one of their strongest contingents of the year.

The Lightning

Lines courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

Defensive Pairings
Victor Hedman
Victor Hedman
Jake Dotchin
Jake Dotchin
Anton Stralman
Anton Stralman
Luke Witkowski
Luke Witkowski
Braydon Coburn
Braydon Coburn
Andrej Sustr
Andrej Sustr

So, a goal for Gregg McKegg and Anton Stralman tonight? I feel like I make the same joke every night, but I also feel like the Leafs play former members of their team every night.

Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Jason Garrison and Cedric Paquette remain injured. Steven Stamkos remains “not a Maple Leaf,” and also is very likely to add “not on a playoff team” to his resume for this year.

Between the Pipes

Frederik Andersen starts for his most important game yet as a Leaf, while it’s likely Andrei Vasilevskiy will be in the net for the Bolts. Andersen has a .919 save percentage and a 33-15-14 record, while the 22-year old Tampa goalie has a .915 save percentage to go with a 20-17-7 record.

Where to watch

The game will be on TSN4 tonight, with puck drop at 7:30. Clinch party at 10:30?

  • Stan Smith

    To this point pretty much every game I thought was a key one the last half of the season, the Leafs have come through. This one is as important as it gets. As for watching the Islanders, the Leafs need to be looking up in the standings, not down.

  • Glen

    Time to end this thing, it would be nice to see the Leafs in the playoffs for a change. However it isn’t over til its over, take nothing for granted. GLG No matter what happens this team looks great long term.