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Watch: Leafs plan for Game Five is to be good

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It sounds silly, but they mean it.

Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Nazem Kadri

He’s looking forward to getting back into the lineup. He addresses the suspension (yes, he should have been, but not for three games), but he doesn’t understand how the repeat offender system works.

Repeat offender status only affects lost salary, and in the playoffs there is none. Lengths of suspensions are totally discretionary.

He then goes on to discuss how hard the task is ahead, so not much you don’t know here.

Jake Gardiner

He’s ready to have Kadri back, and he expects the whole team to step up and perform well. He says their belief is that they aren’t going to lose.

Auston Matthews

He starts with a scene from Bull Durham, and then moves onto some realistic assessment of Boston’s strengths. Matthews then keeps reiterating that they need to be good, that they know how to do that. He’s honest about how frustrated he feels about not scoring.

William Nylander

We don’t hear from Nylander often, so it’s worth a listen. He, like Matthews, is frustrated at not playing at their usual level. He’s not a very good off-the-cuff speaker, so don’t expect to be wowed by his eloquence. But he’s right about how they as players need to be relaxed leading up to Saturday’s game. I expect to see complaints if they don’t look intent enough on Saturday, but nerves don’t win you games.

Mike Babcock

Babcock has a more positive view of the last game than most of us. He says that they did a lot well, which is true enough, but he also recognizes the mistakes on two-on-ones.

He also directly addresses the fan expectations that from now on, the Leafs have to be a good team all the time. They want to be good. Don’t we all?

He discusses the last game again and makes the point that the chances were even, but that most shifts didn’t produce anything but a 50-50 result. This is true and borne out by Expected Goals data.

He’s being very cagey about lines, and he mentions Plekanec’s line and the fourth line as being the best in the previous game. Also true and borne out by data.

So will he move Plekanec back to the fourth line and simply slot Kadri back in with Marleau and Marner? He’s not saying, but there’s a broad hint that the answer is yes.

It does not sound to me like Leo Komarov is coming back in, but that’s a guess.


I know everyone has thought about it some, but would you like to see any major change to the lineup, or is Kadri in, Plekanec to the fourth line and Moore out the best way to go?