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Game Preview: Leafs at Lightning

The Maple Leafs head south to face the top team in the league.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning

Time: 7:30PM

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Sportsnet Ontario, TVA Sports, NHLtv, Fox Sports Sun

Opponent SBNation Site: Raw Charge

Oh good God no.

In a week where Leafs fans are extra ornery, the last thing we need is to see a game against the team that is running away with the Presidents’ Trophy just over halfway through the season. The Lightning have six more wins than the next closest team, nine more points, almost 20 more goals for than the next closest team - and that team is the Calgary Flames for all of those things, which I didn’t see coming - and their goal differential is PLUS FIFTY-EIGHT. They are perfect in the shootout, 8-2 in their last ten, and have lost only four games at home.

This is going to be a fun night.

The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, are a good team but they haven’t reached that next level like the Lightning have. They’re in the top ten in the important NHL standings categories, but have suffered a bit lately with a lack of start to their games - it usually takes them a chunk of the first to really get going - and they’re making some defensive miscues that have reached a point of boos raining down from the rafters of the Scotiabank Arena. Now this is the default status of Leafs fans of the past decade, and even tough this team is the best we’ve seen in a long, long time, the pre-season hype was so high we expected to be the Lightning this year.

This feels like a lot of doom and gloom, but that’s just my mood. The last time these two teams met, the Maple Leafs outplayed the Lightning by a large margin and it was only the outstanding play of Andrei Vasilevsky that gave the Bolts the win.

Hopefully tonight’s challenge gives the Maple Leafs the boost they need and gets them excited for the game. Let’s see another game against Tampa like the last one.

Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Andreas Johnsson - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Kasperi Kapanen
Par Lindholm - Frederik Gauthier - Connor Brown

Defence Pairings

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

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
J.T. Miller - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Defence Pairings

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Anton Stralman- Mikhail Sergachev

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Louis Domingue


Round one vs Boston Bruins

Toronto Team Boston
Toronto Team Boston
3-2 Record 2-3
14GF - 14GA Goal Differential 14GF - 14GA
27.3% - 5th Power Play 35.7% - 2nd
64.3% - 15th Penalty Kill 72.7% - 12th
Auston Matthews - 4 Most Goals Bergeron, Krejci, Pastrnak, Marchand, Coyle - 2
Morgan Rielly - 4 Most Assists Brad Marchand - 4
Auston Matthews - 5 Most Points Brad Marchand - 6
Nazem Kadri - 19 Most PM Charlie McAvoy - 6
Morgan Rielly - 24:34/G TOI Leader Charlie McAvoy - 16
Frederik Andersen - .925sv% Starting Goalie Tuukka Rask - .922sv%

Okay. Everyone breathe. Everyone relax. Don’t look behind the Leafs in the standings. One game at a time.

Go Leafs Go