0

Maple Leafs Pregame #27: 5 Things to watch for against Buffalo

It’s safe to say it’s already been a successful road trip. They stranded Mike Babcock at the side of the Grand Canyon, and the Leafs managed to double their road win total for the season. Now they are in Buffalo, which doesn’t sound like fun, but given that the Sabres are struggling it’s a chance for the good times to continue.

Lineups

LW C RW Forwards
Andreas Johnsson
ANDREAS JOHNSSON

Rating: 73.0#64 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 81.3#5 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 74.7#30 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.34#11 FL1
Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV

Rating: 74.5#39 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 78.2#16 C

Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 73.6#63 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.42#7 FL2
Nic Petan
NIC PETAN

Rating: 71.9#110 LW

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 71.8#114 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 73.1#62 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.24#12 FL3
Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL

Rating: 73.9#45 LW

Frederik Gauthier
FREDERIK GAUTHIER

Rating: 68.7#181 C

Dmytro Timashov
DMYTRO TIMASHOV

Rating: 72.5#74 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.71#12 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 75.8#13 LD

Cody Ceci
CODY CECI

Rating: 71.6#83 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.71#24 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.5#18 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 73.9#35 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.69#10 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 72.9#66 LD

Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE

Rating: 76.6#12 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 74.74#1 DL3
LW C RW Forwards
Victor Olofsson
VICTOR OLOFSSON

Rating: 74.2#42 LW

Jack Eichel
JACK EICHEL

Rating: 80.6#8 C

Sam Reinhart
SAM REINHART

Rating: 75.0#24 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 76.58#8 FL1
Jimmy Vesey
JIMMY VESEY

Rating: 71.6#98 LW

Casey Mittelstadt
CASEY MITTELSTADT

Rating: 70.6#152 C

Marcus Johansson
MARCUS JOHANSSON

Rating: 72.4#76 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 71.53#30 FL2
Jeff Skinner
JEFF SKINNER

Rating: 76.0#25 LW

Johan Larsson
JOHAN LARSSON

Rating: 69.8#162 C

Conor Sheary
CONOR SHEARY

Rating: 72.3#79 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.72#8 FL3
Zemgus Girgensons
ZEMGUS GIRGENSONS

Rating: 71.1#135 LW

Rasmus Asplund
RASMUS ASPLUND

Rating: 73.4#72 C

Jean-Sebastien Dea
JEAN-SEBASTIEN DEA

Rating: 73.3#59 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 72.57#3 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Jake McCabe
JAKE MCCABE

Rating: 71.7#91 LD

Zach Bogosian
ZACH BOGOSIAN

Rating: 71.9#79 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 71.80#30 DL1
Brandon Montour
BRANDON MONTOUR

Rating: 74.8#30 LD

Rasmus Ristolainen
RASMUS RISTOLAINEN

Rating: 73.0#50 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.91#18 DL2
Marco Scandella
MARCO SCANDELLA

Rating: 71.7#90 LD

Henri Jokiharju
HENRI JOKIHARJU

Rating: 72.0#15 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.88#21 DL3

It’s hard to believe the Sabres started losing again with that lineup.

Anyways, here’s 5 things to watch for…

1. Michael Hutchinson returns

Hutch is back! And he’s playing in the first game of a back to back.

While I don’t think this is the glorious slap in the face of Mike Babcock that people were hoping for, but rather a few different things.

  1. Letting Hutchinson play in a slightly different situation
  2. Giving Andersen the home start on Saturday after a long trip and in what will be Keefe’s home debut
  3. They play tomorrow night against Buffalo too. They’ll be just as tired and the odds of winning should be the same in both games.

Hopefully Hutchinson shows some promise tonight, and we can believe that the backup goaltending situation isn’t as dire as we thought it was before.

2. The Rielly/Ceci pairing

It’s still a thing, and it’s still upsetting. Luckily the Leafs have three very balanced pairings at the moment, and it should no longer be about giving Rielly and Ceci the tough assignments, and they can just roll on through.

3. Same lineup as against Detroit

It’s interesting to see that Nick Shore is remaining the odd man out and that Nic Petan is still rolling with the third line. I don’t know how interesting any of this is, but I’m still hoping that Nic Petan breaks out.

4. I’d like to see more of that Johnsson

Andreas Johnsson had a great game Wednesday against Detroit, and wouldn’t it be nice to see him continuing to keep up with Matthews and Nylander.

Johnsson is now back on track to match his totals from last season.

5. He’s Barrie good

Let the goal streak continue.

Game time is 4PM ET on TSN4