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Toronto Maple Leafs game preview: Hockeytown vs the Hockey Universe

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One team is locked into a million bad contracts and the other is the Maple Leafs.

Maple Leafs V Red Wings

There are only eight more games left in the Toronto Maple Leafs season, and at least five of them are against non-playoff teams. The first one up tonight, is the Detroit Red Wings. Old timers will have the children gather round and tell tales of a 24-year playoff streak, a cavern of an arena with sell out crowds, and good players being paid the most on the team.

This is a distant memory, as now we have a lottery streak happening, a new arena that is cavernous because it’s always so damn empty, and old, finished players taking up most of the cap space. Let’s make them hurt more tonight.

Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00PM - Air Canada Centre
Watch: CBC, Sportsnet Now, Fox Sports Detroit, NHL Live
Listen: TSN1050 / Spotsnet590
SBN: Winging it in Motown (you know, it feels like Ken Holland is just winging it lately)

The Leafs last five in a nutshell: Beat an injured team, beat an awful team, beat an awful team, lost to the best team in the east, and beat the best team in the west.

The Red Wings last five: Loss by 3, loss by 2, big loss by 4, barely a win in a shootout, and then they got shutout.

Look, I don’t want to jinx anything here, but it should be a pretty easy win, right?

Toronto Maple Leafs lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitchell Marner
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Andreas Johnsson - Tomas Plekanec - Kasperi Kapanen

Look at it. It’s beautiful.

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

It’s nice, not super hot like the forwards but nice.

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

The future Norse trophy winner gets the start.

Detroit Red Wings lines

Tyler Bertuzzi - Henrik Zetterberg - Gustav Nyquist
Darren Helm - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha
Justin Abdelkader - Frans Nielsen - Andreas Anthanasiou
Evgeny Svechnikov - Luke Glendening - Martin Frk

Holy crap Tyler Bertuzzi is on the first line? And Team USA star player Justin Abdelkader is on the third? What a topsy turvy world we live in.

Jonathan Ericsson - Trevor Daley
Danny Dekeyser - Nick Jensen
Niklas Kronwall - Luke Witkowski

I don’t know who half these guys are, but man Trevor, from back to back cups to....this?

Jimmy Howard
Jared Coreau

Wheeeeeee!

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%

So, what can we expect tonight? A boring game, against a team with nothing to play for. The Maple Leafs are essentially locked into their playoff spot, being 14 points ahead of the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic division, but 7 points back of the Bruins for home ice.

Not much to play for, except for JVR. He knows he’s playing for a pay raise and hooo boy is he ever acting like it.

Let’s get another hat trick James.

Go Leafs Go!

Oh, and Babcock has thoughts: