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Game preview: Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs

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One back up, two AHL recalls. Can the Leafs do better than last time?

NHL: Preseason-Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks ago the Toronto Maple Leafs went to Florida with the intention of locking up a playoff spot. Instead they got beat down in a 7-2 loss. Tonight, the Florida Panthers come to town, and the Maple Leafs were winning games following the loss, looking towards revenge tonight.

The Buffalo Sabres, outside the playoff picture and jealous of the Maple Leafs, had other things in mind and ended the Leafs win (minus one close OT loss) streak with a 5-2 beating and also injuring our starting goalie Frederik Andersen. Now with the Panthers looking to score seven again, the Maple Leafs have the duo of McElhinney and Sparks to protect the net.

Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs
7:30PM - Air Canada Centre
TV: TSN4 / Radio: TSN1050
SBN: Litter Box Cats

The Maple Leafs are now facing the game with their back up who’s numbers are...okay and an AHLer who hasn’t seen the NHL this year and is coming off injury (not to mention bloggers trying to ruin his career).

The Florida Panthers are putting in James Reimer, the former Maple Leafs goaltender who dragged them into the 213 playoffs, and backed up the San Jose Sharks all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Reimer played very well against the Maple Leafs two weeks ago and has been an excellent goaltender for the Panthers while Luongo was injured. It will be hard to score on the Panthers tonight, while the Maple Leafs defense needs to work overtime to make up for the loss of their starter.

Quick numbers

- Toronto Florida
- Toronto Florida
Record 35-24-15 33-31-11
Division 3rd 6th
Conference 7th 13th
League 15th 22nd
Goal Differential 227 / 219 = +8 195 / 213 = -18
Power Play 23.7% - 2nd 16.7 - 25th
Penalty Kill 82.5% - 10th 85.4% - 1st
Most Goals Auston Matthews - 34 Jonathan Marchessault - 29
Most Points Auston Matthews - 61 Vincent Trochek - 52
Top Goalie Frederik Andersen - .918sv% James Reimer - .917sv%

Josh Leivo is taking line rushes this morning, after Kasperi Kapanen was called up from the Marlies in case he wasn’t able to play today.

Here are the morning skate lines.

Toronto
Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Matt Martin - Brian Boyle - Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly - Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Curtis McElhinney
Garret Sparks

Florida
Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Reilly Smith
Thomas Vanek - Nick Bjugstad - Jonathan Marchessault
Shawn Thornton - Derek MacKenzie - Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle - Jason Demers
Michael Matheson - Alex Petrovic
Mark Pysyk - Jakub Kindl

James Reimer
Reto Berra

Other notes:

This is a big one, we need the two points to stay ahead of the Bruins who are only one point back.