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Preview: Welcome back James van Riemsdyk

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It’s good to see the green mouthguard back.

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: James van Riemsdyk #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his powerplay goal at 17:28 of the first period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2017 in New York City.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Species’ basement

Broadcast/Streaming: CBC, Sportsnet One

Opponent SBNation Site: Broad Street Hockey

Opponent Twitter Account: @GrittyNHL

Ahh, it’s good to be back at work on a Saturday night. Last weekend felt weird. Tonight, Leafs fans will get to witness the return of the Father of the Hanging Mouthguard and Net-Front Savant James van Riemsdyk. There will be a video, some of us will cry, I just hope Gritty joins in on the green mouthguard salute.

For Toronto, JVR was many things. The return for Luke Schenn, Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak’s wingman on a first line that was about the only thing going well for the Leafs in that era, and also one of the Top 100 Leafs from their first century.

JVR also scored the franchise’s 20,000th goal in the team’s Century Game back in 2017. There was some controversy as to whether the 20,000 goals included shootout wins, but JVR still got the record regardless.

And in lieu of his return to the city that saw the best years of his career, Reemer reminisced on his time with the Blue and White with a story in the Players’ Tribune. His story of Phillip J was extremely hilarious. I won’t spoil it, but here’s my favourite line from it.


Maple Leafs

Nothing new here, except Sparks gets the start.

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson - Par Lindholm - Connor Brown
Josh Leivo - Frederik Gauthier - Tyler Ennis

Defence Pairings

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Travis Dermott - Igor Ozhiganov

Goaltenders

Garret Sparks - assumed starter
Frederik Andersen

Philadelphia Flyers

From the last game (Friday vs. NY Rangers).

Forward Lines

Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Travis Konecny
Dale Weise - Nolan Patrick - Jakub Vorachek
James van Riemsdyk - Jordan Weal - Wayne Simmonds
Oskar Lindblom - Scott Laughton - Tyrell Goulbourne

Defence Pairings

Ivan Provorov - Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere - Christian Folin
Travis Sanheim - Radko Gudas

Goaltenders

Calvin Pickard - assumed starter
Alex Lyon


Former Leaf Calvin Pickard posted a 31-save shutout against the New York Rangers yesterday afternoon, but with Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz the only other healthy goalies (because Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are injured), Picks gets a chance to play against his partner from last year. Pickard and Sparks have been through a lot together. They were each other’s shoulder when the NHL felt miles away, and they battled each other to a dominant 2018 Calder Cup with the Marlies.

Goaltending has been the story in Philly this year, despite being seventh in shots and Corsi differentials at even strength, the goalies have been giving up the fourth-most goals against per 60 minutes in the league.

We’ll update you if there are any lineup changes, but in the meantime, enjoy sludge day!