Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Leafs AM skate notes: Keefe doesn’t take questions on lineup, remains a mystery ahead of Game 6
By Nick Barden9 months ago
Another night, another chance for the Maple Leafs to put the Lightning away in this series.
Toronto flew back down to Tampa on Friday for a second opportunity (this year) at doing something they haven’t done since 2004. And it looks like it’ll come with a new defenceman in the lineup.
Timothy Liljegren skipped the Maple Leafs’ morning skate on Saturday — something he doesn’t normally do if he’s a healthy scratch. Justin Holl, though, was on the ice prior to Game 6, not a regular occurrence for the 31-year-old if he’s in the lineup.
Another interesting tidbit from Tampa is that Michael Bunting, who’s missed the last four games due to a suspension, and scratch, was on the ice Saturday morning. But he didn’t stay on for extra work, according to TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie, like the scratches would.
That very well could mean that Bunting and Liljegren draw into Toronto’s lineup for Game 6, though Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe elected not to take any questions about their lineup for Saturday.
This is the same thing that Keefe has said prior to multiple games in this series. It’s not known if there are injuries that are hampering a player’s status, or if Keefe is more or less keeping things more secretive.
Either way, we won’t know who’s in and out for the Maple Leafs until 6:30 p.m. when the team takes warmup at Amalie Arena.
When it comes to the Lightning, Erik Cernak will not be in the lineup once again, says head coach Jon Cooper. The 25-year-old hasn’t played since Game 1 where he took the high hit from Bunting.
Mikey Eyssimont had a big Game 5 for the Lightning, scoring a goal and adding an assist in 12:20 of ice time. It looks like he’ll be back in the lineup once again, with Tanner Jeannot likely being a healthy scratch for a second-straight game.
Tampa’s lineup is projected to be the same as it was in Game 5 while Toronto’s might look a little different. One of the only things certain: the starting goaltenders. Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning, Ilya Samsonov for the Maple Leafs.
A positive if you’re a Toronto fan? The players all ate dinner together on Friday night, something that Keefe has only seen for this series since becoming the head coach of this Maple Leafs team.
Toronto has won each game they’ve played on the road, and having dinner together could very well help ease the pressure of closing out a series. It’ll be tough but the Maple Leafs will look to do it on Saturday night in Game 6.
Puck drop is set for just after 7 p.m. EST inside Amalie Arena.
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