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Toronto Maple Leafs preview: Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning

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It’s the debut of Tomas Plekanec in blanc et bleu.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens - Game Five Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs are preparing for their game tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the front office is getting prepared for the remainder of the season. It’s a 2018 NHL trade deadline game day!

Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
7:30PM - Amalie Arena
Watch: TVA Sports, Sportsnet Ontario, NHL Live
Listen: Sportsnet590
SBN: Raw Charge

So, trade deadline eh? The Maple Leafs are trying out their new centre, Tomas Plekanec tonight against the Lightning, which is good timing since Auston Matthews is out the next couple weeks with a shoulder injury.

The Lightning are, as of publishing time, still rumoured to be in the running to land Erik Karlsson, but thankfully he won’t be in the line up tonight and the Leafs will only have to face off against Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev. [Sergachev is not much to worry about in the face of your top six, Seldo. He’s still a rookie and occasionally plays like one. - Acha]

Toronto Maple Leafs lines

Zach Hyman - Mitch Marner - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Josh Leivo - Tomas Plekanec - Kasperi Kapenaen

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

Tampa Bay Lightning lines

Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan
Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Chris Kunitz - Yanni Gourde - Tyler Johnson
Cory Conacher - Cedric Paquette - Adam Erne

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Mikhail Sergachev - Dan Girardi
Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevsky
Louis Dominigue

Numbers Preview

Maple Leafs Team Devils
Maple Leafs Team Devils
265GF - 226GA - +29 Goal Differential 238GF - 234GA - +4
24.4% - 2nd overall Power Play 21.7 - 10th overall
81.3% - 12th overall Penalty Kill 81.9% - 7th overall
James van Riemsdyk - 36 Most Goals Taylor Hall - 39
Mitch Marner - 47 Most Assists Taylor Hall - 54
Mitch Marner - 69 Most Points Taylor Hall - 93
Matt Martin - 50 Most PM Miles Wood - 84
Jake Gardiner - 22:33/G TOI Leader Sami Vatanen - 22:42
Frederik Andersen - .917sv% Starting Goalie Keith Kincaid - .911sv%

Tonight and Saturday night were good playoff tests as the Lightning and Bruins are the most likely first round opponents for the Leafs - unless we get a huge win streak to end the season and take over first place in the division which is extremely unlikely, but you never know.

In these teams first meeting this season the Lightning shutout the Leafs 2-0, and two weeks ago the Leafs beat the Bolts 4-3 at home. After tonight there’s just one final game in Tampa. Two nice close games with one win each has me thinking excellent playoff series whether it’s round one or two between these two teams.

The loss of Matthews from the top line hurts, but we’ve been saved from a Frederik Gauthier call up with yesterday’s trade. The Leafs are weaker up front, but not as weak as they could have been.

It’s going to be a barn burner tonight with the firepower on both teams and two of the top goalies in the league on display.

See you all in the GDT tonight.

Go Leafs Go!

And that first Carrick there is meant to be Zaitsev, so it looks like Polak is in, Kapenen is up the lineup and Komarov is not.

Obviously with the trade today, the Leafs won’t face Vlad Namestnikov. There is no word on who draws in to replace him, but we don’t expect JT Miller of Ryan McDonagh to be in Tampa in time for the game.