Leafs AM skate notes: Lafferty draws in, Aston-Reese scratched for Game 2 vs. Panthers

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Barden
11 months ago
After an optional skate on Wednesday, the Maple Leafs once again gave the players the choice as to whether or not they want to skate ahead of Game 2 against the Florida Panthers.
Nine of Toronto’s 20 skaters who played in Game 1 took to the ice on Thursday morning for some work before the more difficult labour in the evening.
There were no lineup decisions made after Wednesday’s optional practice, but heading into Game 2 it was likely that there’d be some kind of adjustment from Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe.
The speed of Game 1 was very obvious. It looked considerably faster than Toronto’s first round series vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. With that being said, Keefe is going to counter with putting speedster Sam Lafferty back in the lineup.
Coming out is Zach Aston-Reese who doesn’t bring as big of a speed factor as Lafferty does. Keefe also said that with the 28-year-old drawing into the lineup, that’ll allow Alex Kerfoot to move to his proper side.
Lafferty hasn’t played since Game 5 of the first round against the Lightning, but him coming back in will make the Maple Leafs’ fourth line even faster. The 28-year-old has one point through five playoff games with Toronto this season.
Here’s the Maple Leafs’ projected lineup for Game 2 vs. the Panthers:
Samsonov (starter)
That’s right, to the surprise of nobody, Samsonov will be Toronto’s starting goaltender for Game 2.
When it comes to Florida’s starting goaltender, there’s no doubt it’s Sergei Bobrovsky. The 34-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots against the Maple Leafs in Game 1 on Tuesday night, posting a .944 save percentage.
If there’s any player Toronto should want to get on the other side of for Game 2, it’s definitely Bobrovsky. Oh, and Matthew Tkachuk.
After a fairly interesting Game 1, where the Maple Leafs were feeling out the Panthers, I expect a different performance from Toronto in Game 2. They’re just as good as Florida when it comes to a faster game and I believe the Maple Leafs can be a threat to the Panther in the transition.
If Toronto is a legitimate threat there, we could see Game 2 won by the home side. Only time will tell.
Game 2 is slated for 7 p.m. inside Scotiabank Arena with puck drop slated to be just a few minutes later. Toronto won Game 2 in the first round, can they do it against this time?

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