Maple Leafs hoping to calm things down tonight against the Wild
Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
By Joseph Zita1 month ago
It was a crazy season opener for the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night as they stormed back late to pick up a 6-5 win in the shootout over one of their biggest rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s understandable why they might have been a little sloppy at times that night, as well as five goals against in regulation, but now it’s the second game of the season, and it’s time to clean up some mistakes as the season progresses.
Tonight, they welcome a good Minnesota Wild team to Toronto that also picked up a win in their season opener over the Florida Panthers Thursday night.
Maple Leafs’ lineup:
According to head coach Sheldon Keefe, there will be no changes to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup for tonight’s game.
According to David Alter of The Hockey News, these were the lines at Maple Leafs practice yesterday afternoon with Ilya Samsonov in the starter’s crease with Keefe confirming to the media that Samsonov will indeed start against the Wild tonight.
Toronto’s opponents, the Minnesota Wild, will be going with the same lineup as well with Filip Gustavsson between the pipes for the second consecutive game, according to Mark Masters of TSN.
The Wild’s lines against the Panthers on Thursday night were as follows:
Kaprizov – Hartman – Zuccarello
Johansson – Eriksson Ek – Boldy
Foligno – Rossi – Guadreau
Maroon – Dewar – Duhaime
Brodin – Faber
Middleton – Goligoski
Merrill – Addison
Tonight’s game is going to be completely different than their contest against the Canadiens on Wednesday night. The Wild are a much more veteran team than the Canadiens and are much bigger and stronger.
After the departure of Ryan Reaves this off-season, Minnesota went out and acquired Patrick Maroon from the Lightning to fill that void.
However, it’s not just Maroon. Minnesota has other players who play rough on the ice and can contribute offensively. Foligno, Eriksson Ek, Middleton, Merrill, and Duhaime are all players who aren’t afraid to rough things up, and if you watched the games against Minnesota over the past couple of seasons, you should know that.
Players to watch:
It’s still very early in the season, and all the newcomers should be players to watch in the early going to see how they fit on this team, but for tonight, I’m going to keep my eye on former Wild Ryan Reaves, Max Domi and the Maple Leafs blue line.
Reaves, acquired by the Wild last season, left them in free agency to sign a big three-year deal in Toronto, and if you know Reaves’ personality and the type of player he is, he’ll be going after some of his former teammates tonight.
For Domi, it was a weird game for him. Just going off the eye test, I thought he had his moments where he looked decent, but also had his moments where he looked meh. However, it’s a new game for him to try and bounce back.
Lastly, the defence. Although they didn’t give Montreal a ton to work with throughout the entire game and limited them to only 24 shots through 65 minutes, the turnovers from the defensemen in the defensive zone are something they need to clean up.
The majority of Montreal’s goals and chances came off turnovers in their zone or even at the offensive blue line when Brodie blew a tire and was the last man back.
You can catch the Maple Leafs and Wild in action tonight on Sportsnet Ontario at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.
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