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Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LGD-Tavares Eve

Really when you think about it, tonight’s game is just really a hassle. You can tell the locker room is focused on Tavares facing the Islanders tomorrow, it’s definitely a game that means something to fans as well, and we’re going into it as the second half of a back to back because the schedule makers plopped the Oilers down on the schedule the night before.

Normally as a Leaf fan living in Edmonton this would be a game that matters to me, but the idea of entertaining the Oilers and their mad dash for 9th in the Western Conference doesn’t hold a lot of interest. We’ve seen Connor McDavid return to Toronto, and seen that it doesn’t really matter and the Leafs will win.

Given the Oilers status as bad and the Islanders game having as much meaning in the locker room as it does it seems odd that Andersen gets the start against Edmonton and Sparks will be in goal in Nassau County. At the end of the day, this probably makes sense as the goal is to try extract the easy points in back to backs, and those easy points are likely coming at home tonight.

This back to back also brings about the end of the month of hell, which has seen the Leafs play 15 times in 28 nights, sporting a 9-3-1 record so far. Okay, maybe it wasn’t so hellish after all, and the competition was largely made up of draft lottery bound teams, but still, rest is good.

The Leafs seem to be on the verge of shutting down Jake Gardiner for an extended period of time, and that’s definitely ungood, especially when a timetable for Kadri’s return hasn’t been established yet either. Still, we’re not to the point where there is any risk of Justin Holl being given a chance and initial comments from Mike Babcock seem to point to Nic Petan getting to know Justin Holl very well.

LW C RW Forwards
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 74.8#41 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 81.8#13 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 78.9#13 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.46#15 FL1
Andreas Johnsson
ANDREAS JOHNSSON

Rating: 76.2#33 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 85.2#4 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 74.1#46 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 78.50#2 FL2
Patrick Marleau
PATRICK MARLEAU

Rating: 73.6#54 LW

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 76.0#45 C

Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN

Rating: 70.8#95 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 73.47#10 FL3
Tyler Ennis
TYLER ENNIS

Rating: 71.4#97 LW

Frederik Gauthier
FREDERIK GAUTHIER

Rating: 67.4#181 C

Trevor Moore
TREVOR MOORE

Rating: 73.6#50 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.80#18 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 80.5#5 LD

Ron Hainsey
RON HAINSEY

Rating: 72.8#56 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.66#9 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.8#20 LD

Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV

Rating: 71.4#79 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.64#14 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 73.7#43 LD

Igor Ozhiganov
IGOR OZHIGANOV

Rating: 72.9#54 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 73.32#6 DL3

On the Oilers side of things, tonight marks the return of Connor McDavid from his well earned two game suspension. Amazingly the Oilers managed to go 1-0-1 without him, and should probably be taken as an early warning sign of them going on a “too little too late” run against teams resting injured players and starting their #2 goaltenders.

Tonight will also be Sam Gagner’s much heralded return to Toronto after being traded from the Marlies. Funny that playing on the first line of the Marlies can land you a spot on the first line of the Oilers so quickly. That shouldn’t alarm anyone in Edmonton.

Beyond that, not a lot more to say. If the Leafs keep a close eye on three players they’ll probably win. Not much more of a game plan required than that, and given the Oilers tendency to give up quick goals, the Leafs should be able to coast through the 2nd and 3rd periods and stay rested for their real game tomorrow night.

Player Ratings by Corsica
Last update: February 27, 2019
LW C RW Forwards
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS

Rating: 75.1#54 LW

Connor McDavid
CONNOR MCDAVID

Rating: 88.5#1 C

Sam Gagner
SAM GAGNER

Rating: 72.7#65 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.73#13 FL1
Tobias Rieder
TOBIAS RIEDER

Rating: 70.3#119 LW

Leon Draisaitl
LEON DRAISAITL

Rating: 81.4#14 C

Alex Chiasson
ALEX CHIASSON

Rating: 70.4#104 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 74.04#21 FL2
Milan Lucic
MILAN LUCIC

Rating: 70.1#124 LW

Colby Cave
COLBY CAVE

Rating: 72.2#105 C

Josh Currie
JOSH CURRIE
FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.12#27 FL3
Brad Malone
BRAD MALONE

Rating: 72.6#77 LW

Kyle Brodziak
KYLE BRODZIAK

Rating: 69.6#167 C

Zack Kassian
ZACK KASSIAN

Rating: 70.1#109 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.77#19 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Oscar Klefbom
OSCAR KLEFBOM

Rating: 77.0#14 LD

Adam Larsson
ADAM LARSSON

Rating: 71.7#77 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.31#18 DL1
Darnell Nurse
DARNELL NURSE

Rating: 73.3#49 LD

Kris Russell
KRIS RUSSELL

Rating: 71.7#76 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.49#20 DL2
Matt Benning
MATT BENNING

Rating: 71.1#98 LD

Andrej Sekera
ANDREJ SEKERA

Rating: 73.4#48 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.21#16 DL3

Starting Goaltenders

Andersen vs. Koskinen. What do we really need to say about Koskinen that hasn’t been said before? The league is blessed he’s around for another three years, and I’d count on seeing a lot of 40 goal scorers out of the Pacific division for the foreseeable future.

It’s a 7pm ET start time tonight, so you’ll want to tune in early before Koskinen is chased. Hopefully tonight is a worthwhile appetizer to the circus that will take place tomorrow night.

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