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Maple Leafs vs Lighting: Jake Gardiner returns in a round two preview

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It’s the second last game of the Maple Leafs season. There are no consequences to losing.

Wendel Clark #17
Best of both worlds, right here

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs

Time: 7:00PM

Final regular season home game for the Maple Leafs

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN4, NHL Live, Fox Sports Sun

Opponent SBNation Site: Raw Charge

Tonight is the 81st game of the Maple Leafs schedule and the last regular season game to be play at the Scotiabank Arena. The Maple Leafs are locked in to their #3 seed position for a first round match up with the Boston Bruins, and the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Presidents’ Trophy back in October or something.

Neither team has anything to play for tonight, aside from pride, perhaps. This is a completely meaningless game and if I were the head coach, and could get away with it, I would have forfeited the game Tuesday morning, slept in today, and ran practices until we had to leave for Montreal - unless Saturday’s game will be meaningless as well then I’d forfeit that and just wait for the playoffs to start.

However, there is money to be made, so the game will go on.

Maple Leafs

From the morning skate:

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Auston Matthews - Kasperi Kapanen -
Andreas Johnsson - William Nylander - Connor Brown
Tyler Ennis - Frederik Gauthier - Trevor Moore

Is Kadri playing or sitting out tonight? That’s a big question and it may not be answered before the pre-game skate.

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Calle Rosen

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

With Andersen starting tonight, I would start Sparks on Saturday against Montreal. While there is nothing to play for tonight, I would get Andersen in front of a potential playoff opponent.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

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

Defence Pairings

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Anton Stralman - Mikhail Sergachev
Braydon Coburn - Jan Rutta

Victor Hedman is injured right now, so that’s alright.

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Eddie Pasquale


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%

Alright, fine. I’ll admit there are some reasons for the game to go on.

  • John Tavares is only four goals away from 50.
  • Mitch Marner is eight points away from 100 - a long shot, but it could happen.
  • Kasperi Kapanen needs one goal to become the seventh Leaf to score a minimum of 20 this season.
  • Patrick Marleau needs more games to add to his consecutive games played streak, and to catch Ron Francis for 4th overall in games played.
  • The children who will be at the game, someone needs to think of them.
  • You need practice against your most likely second round opponent.

Okay, the game is on and it will be a tough one for the Maple Leafs.

7:00PM. TSN. Be there.

UPDATE: Nazem Kadri is definitely not playing, no word yet on why. Tampa is resting some players: