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Game Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Panthers

Kasperi Kapanen rejoins the Leafs for a key battle in the standings.

2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game - Atlantic Division v Pacific Division Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers
7:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN4, FOX Sports Florida (blackouts in effect)
Opponent’s site: Litter Box Cats

It’s a big game for the standings tonight for the Maple Leafs. The Panthers are the only team in the Atlantic Division which can realistically challenge the Leafs for in the battle for that last playoff spot, especially now that the Habs have fallen so far behind and look resigned to missing the playoffs.

You will recall the last time the Leafs played the Panthers, things did not go very well. That was also a Sunday game, about three weeks ago in which the Leafs gave up eight goals, some of which were very ugly.

Maple Leafs Lines (source: Mark Masters at morning skate)

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitchell Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Andreas Johnsson - Pierre Engvall - Kasperi Kapanen
Trevor Moore - Frederik Gauthier - Jason Spezza

Travis Dermott - Tyson Barrie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Cody Ceci

Frederik Andersen
Michael Hutchinson

Kapanen is back after his public shaming today for being late to team meetings, something which has apparently happened before, even back as far as when he was on the Marlies years ago. His return will leave Engvall at center for this game.

Travis Dermott was out sick for the last game. I would expect Martin Marincin to substitute in for this game if he still doesn’t feel up to playing.

Florida Panthers Lines (via the Daily Faceoff with edits noted below)

Jonathan Huberdeau - [to be updated]- Evgenii Dadonov
Brett Connolly - Vincent Trocheck - Noel Acciari
Frank Vatrano - Dominic Toninato - Mike Hoffman
Jayce Hawryluk - Brian Boyle - Colton Sceviour

Mike Matheson - Aaron Ekblad
Riley Stillman - Anton Stralman
Keith Yandle - Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky
Chris Driedger

Aleksander Barkov was thought to be ready to come back to play tonight, but will not be present after all, which should help out the Leafs at least. I will update the lines with new information as available later. I simply left all the centers where they are with Barkov out, including ex-Leafs prospect Dominic Toninato! Noel Acciari will probably slot in to one of those spots.