Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers: Game 23
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Location: BB & T Centre
Broadcast/Streaming: Sportsnet Ontario
Opponent SBNation Site: Litter Box Cats
Kool thing, walkin’ like a panther.
Things haven’t been going so hot for the Panthers this season. Despite the renewed reign of General Manager Dale “Thank God I’m Back” Tallon, the Panthers are second-last in the East, and already facing a very steep hill to make the playoffs. This is a little tragic, given they’re wasting a truly fantastic top line, centered by underrated Corsi superstar Alexander Barkov and featuring quietly brilliant KHL signing Evgeny Dadonov (the LW on the line is Jonathan Huberdeau, who is also pretty cool.) But after that, their scoring depth is pretty much just Vincent Trocheck. Super weird how losing Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault for nothing turns out to have hurt them, but perhaps the analytics nerd in me, talking about fancy stats like “you don’t have enough goals.”
Toronto Maple Leafs Line Combinations
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - Connor Brown
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman - Connor Carrick
Mike Babcock has indicated the lines will be as usual for tonight’s game. Frederik Andersen should get the start.
Florida Panthers Line Combinations (via Daily Faceoff)
The Panthers have called up their free agent summer signing, Henrik Haapala, and he is due to slot in somewhere in the forward lines tonight.
Jonathan Huberdeau - Alexander Barkov - Evgeny Dadonov
Connor Brickley - Vincent Trocheck - Nick Bjugstad
Jamie McGinn - Jared McCann - Colton Sceviour
Micheal Haley - Chase Balisy - Dryden Hunt
Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad
Michael Matheson - Mark Pysyk
Ian McCoshen - MacKenzie Weegar
Roberto Luongo - confirmed starter
The Panthers’ lineup may be shallow in places, but it has some quality players on it. Yandle - Ekblad really ought to be a pretty decent top pairing, though their stats together are middling, and Matheson and Pysyk have excellent second pair numbers. Between that top four, four really good forwards, and Roberto Luongo, the Panthers are absolutely capable of beating teams above them in the standings. The Leafs had better be ready.
Go Leafs Go!
UPDATE: We have one report that Nikita Soshnikov is in for Dominic Moore.
Looks like Soshnikov is in, Dom Moore out for #Leafs tonight— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) November 22, 2017
Why that is or how that affects the lineup is up for speculation, so speculate away.