Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Maple Leafs look to finish November strong against the Kraken
By Joseph Zita2 months ago
It was great to see the Maple Leafs fight back against the Florida Panthers after a poor first period and pick up a crazy 2-1 win in the shootout, but it came at the cost of a couple of injuries. With Toronto continuing their homestand tonight against Seattle, they’re going to have to rely on their depth on the blue line to step up again as they look to win consecutive games.
Maple Leafs’ lineup:
The Panthers game Tuesday night was the second game in a row that Sheldon Keefe rolled out the new-look top-six after debuting them against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday night. Although they haven’t looked as dominant as we’d hoped, they have gotten better, and it’s just a matter of time until they find their way on the scoresheet more consistently.
Before we get into the Maple Leafs’ projected lineup for tonight’s game, Mark Giordano left the last game with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. It was revealed today that the 40-year-old suffered a broken finger on a blocked shot before the Panthers’ first goal of the game and will be week-to-week, according to Sheldon Keefe.
So, with that bit of news surrounding the blue line, the Toronto Maple Leafs had to make a transaction, and they called up Max Lajoie from the Toronto Marlies ahead of their morning skate today.
Now, with the Giordano injury out of the way and the recent call-up of Lajoie, here were the Maple Leafs’ lines ahead of their morning skate today, according to Mark Masters.
By the look of the lines, they will be going with pretty much the same lineup as their last game, just with Bobby McMann slotting back in the lineup for Ryan Reaves and, of course, Mark Giordano coming out of the lineup for William Lagesson.
The blue line, which has taken multiple hits this season, will consist of Morgan Rielly, TJ Brodie, William Lagesson, Jake McCabe, Simon Benoit and Conor Timmins for the foreseeable future. If it’s not already apparent that Brad Treliving has been making calls around the league for defensemen, it is now.
Joseph Woll was also the first goalie off the ice this morning and projects to be the starter against Seattle, according to Mark Masters. I honestly thought they would’ve gone to Ilya Samsonov tonight and give Woll the Saturday start against the Bruins, but with Woll projected to start tonight, it’ll be interesting to see who goes against the Bruins.
Toronto’s opponent, Seattle, has not had as much success this season as last season and sees itself on the outside looking in for the playoff picture. With a record of 8-10-5, the Kraken sit just 5th in their division, 11th in their conference, and just one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
For tonight, things don’t get easier for them. They will be without one of their forwards, Jaden Schwartz, as he is dealing with an injury and has been placed on IR ahead of tonight’s game.
Philipp Grubauer was also the first goalie off the ice for the Kraken this afternoon and projects to be the starter against Toronto, according to Mark Masters.
Players to watch:
Toronto’s top six will have my attention for the third straight game, as it’s only a matter of time until they have themselves a big game again. Nylander has gone pointless in three straight after beginning the season with a 17-game point streak, Matthews has just one goal in his last eight games, and Marner has just three points in his last eight games. These guys are too good to be in a drought like this for an extended period.
Joseph Woll, who’s starting his third consecutive game, will look to continue that stellar performance into tonight’s tilt against the Kraken. This is the third time this season Woll has started in three consecutive games or more. He went 3-0-0 at the end of October and 2-2-0 at the beginning of November. It’ll be interesting to see how he looks tonight against a hungry Kraken team.
The blue line will always have my attention, especially when half the blue line is out with an injury. William Lagesson and Simon Benoit were signed as depth pieces, but so far this season, they have played a combined 19 games and have done a good enough job to continue playing. With Liljegren, Giordano and Klingberg out, the blue line will have to be at their best until the guys return from their injuries or Treliving makes a trade to improve the blue line.
You can catch the Maple Leafs and Kraken tonight in action on TSN4. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.
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