Tonight the Maple Leafs are taking on the Atlantic Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning in what promises to be an exciting matchup.
Tampa Bay has been dominating this year, with a 36-9-2 record, leading the NHL by a wide margin. The Leafs aren’t trailing too far behind, despite their recent struggles. Toronto is in second place in the division with 58 points, a narrow 1 point lead over the Bruins and Canadiens.
With easily the most solidly built roster in the NHL, there are so few weakpoints to attack. The Leafs must do their best to play at their best, and not make mistakes, putting their absolute best foot forward.
Johnson – Tavares – Marner
Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
Marleau – Kadri – Kapanen
Lindholm – Gauthier – Brown
Rielly – Hainsey
Gardiner – Zaitsev
Dermott – Ozhiganov
Palat – Stamkos – Gourde
Johnson – Point – Kucherov
Killorn – Cirelli – Erne
Miller – Paquette – Callahan
McDonagh – Stralman
Girardi – Hedman
Coburn – Sergachev
This is definitely going to be a tough competition for the Leafs to win, but all hope is not lost.
This is the first time the Leafs are having to face the league-leading-Lightning, and they’re coming with the full force of the best of their lineup for only the second time this season, after the last game against Colorado.
The three keys to this game for the Leafs are:
- Draw some penalties
- The Lightning allow the 6th most shot attempts and 8th most unblocked shot attempts in the league while on the penalty kill, and the Leafs obviously have one of the most talented powerplay groups in the league.
- Defend the blue-line
- The Lightning are 2nd in the league in Scoring Chances for per 60 minutes. Keeping them out of the zone will help stop this from happening
- Get bodies in front of Vasilevsky
- Vasilevsky has been mediocre this season, by his standards, sitting 15th in the league in Sv% and Goals Saved Above Average.
The game starts at 7:30 pm and is on Sportsnet. Enjoy the game, and go Leafs go!