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Leafs Pregame: Hey, look! It’s Trevor Moore!

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Jake Muzzin, Kyle Clifford, and Jack Campbell and a chance for the Leafs to see what became of Trevor Moore and Carl Grundstrom. (Spoiler: not a heck of a lot.)

The Leafs failure to pick up a win in San Jose should put a lot of pressure on their final two games in California, which unfortunately fall on back to back nights. The Kings would be considered beyond dreadful and in any season that didn’t feature the historic tank job of the Detroit Red Wings, would easily have them in the bottom spot in the league. Jeff Carter being injured really doesn’t help their case for being a NHL team, though somehow they are 6-3-1 in their last 10 and are enjoying a three game winning streak. I blame Gabe Vilardi.

Given that Jack Campbell put up a human performance the other night against the Sharks, the Leafs seem to have opted to avoid homecoming games for Campbell and Andersen, and instead Andersen will face the Kings, and the Campbell will face the Ducks. The decision to forego narrative for a fresh goaltender makes sense, and the Leafs probably are better off with not finding ways to put more attention on their goaltenders, especially when they are still likely a week away from help coming on the blue line.

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DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Martin Marincin
MARTIN MARINCIN
Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT
Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL
Calle Rosen
CALLE ROSEN
Timothy Liljegren
TIMOTHY LILJEGREN

So yeah, we know Sandin is in, we can assume that Mikheyev is not, but the above lines could look somewhat different. The ongoing struggle to find a place where Kapanen and Kerfoot can fit in continues, although I really want to see Kapanen get his shot with the Tavares line now that Nylander is on the left. Moving Kerfoot back to center on the third line and getting him playing down the middle heading into the playoffs makes sense to me, as would doing the same with Engvall on the fourth line. Once the Leafs playoff position is a bit more guaranteed, I wouldn’t mind exploring the galaxy brain idea of Freddie Gauthier as a giant pylon parked in front of opposing goaltenders on one of the top two lines, but I think it’s safe to say that’s never happening.

We don’t know who is coming out so Sandin can come in, but the safe money seems to be on Calle Rosen. The Leafs aren’t exactly facing an offensive juggernaut tonight, and a Sandin/Liljegren pairing should be something the Leafs would be comfortable playing whenever Kopitar isn’t on the ice.

If you are out of town scoreboard watching tonight, this is an important night. The Panthers are facing the Bruins, and Boston has the chance to do Toronto a big favour by just being their usual selves. In a very realistic world the Leafs should end this night with a 7 point lead over the Panthers for 3rd in the Atlantic, but given how the Leafs love to hurt us, we should also be prepared for the scenario where the Leafs only have a 3 point lead over the Panthers.

Game time is 10:30 PM ET and it can be seen on Sportsnet Ontario.

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