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Flames at Maple Leafs: John Tavares is back, probably

And we know who’s going to start on Saturday.

Los Angeles Kings v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 8: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs, celebrates his goal with teammates William Nylander #88 and Auston Matthews #34 of against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period at the Scotiabank Arena on November 8, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Calgary Flames @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #15

7:00 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena
TV/Streaming: TSN4
Opponent’s Site: Matchsticks and Gasoline

Us

Leafs captain John Tavares expects to make his return to the lineup tonight at home against the Calgary Flames after missing Monday’s win where former linemate William Nylander led the way with two goals. The team described his absence as mostly precautionary. He’ll slot back into the second line centre position with Mitch Marner and Alex Kerfoot next to him.

That said, Joey Anderson will still take warm-ups for the Leafs just in case Tavares can’t go. In that scenario, Nick Ritchie would move up to the second line and probably Anderson would skate on the fourth line.

As for the players in net, it’s confirmed that Jack Campbell will get tonight’s home game at the beginning of the back-to-back, with new backup Joseph Woll expected to make his NHL debut on Saturday night for what is essentially a home game in Buffalo. That is, unless Sheldon Keefe has other “plans.”

Not to put too many expectations on the kid, but maybe?

Forwards

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - Mitchell Marner
Pierre Engvall - David Kämpf - Ondřej Kaše
Nick Ritchie - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds
Joey Anderson

Defense

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren
Scratched: Travis Dermott

Goalies

Jack Campbell - confirmed starter
Joseph Woll

Them

The Flames are in the second half of a back-to-back after playing in Montreal last night. It was a 4-2 loss for Calgary with Jacob Markström in net, meaning it’s backup Dan Vladar tonight against the Leafs. Vladar, 24, has played in seven career NHL games and has a .887 save percentage. In the Bruins system, he has a .917 sv% in 78 AHL games.

Mikael Backlund and Andrew Mangiapane scored last night for the Flames, but it’s Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau who lead the team in points (14 each in 13 games). For context, Nylander, Tavares, and Marner share the team lead in points with 13 each in 14 games (13 for JT).

You might have heard that Gaudreau is the highest minutes player to not be on the ice for a goal against at 5v5 this season. Despite the 4-2 loss and being a -1 on the night, that streak is still alive for Gaudreau because the goal against he was on for was at 4v4. Heh. His usage suggests he mostly gets matched up against the opponent’s second line, so go get ‘em Mitch.

Here are the lines from last night.

Forwards

Johnny Gaudreau - Elias Lindholm - Matthew Tkachuk
Blake Coleman - Sean Monahan - Andrew Mangiapane
Dillon Dube - Mikael Backlund - Trevor Lewis
Milan Lucic - Brad Richardson - Tyler Pitlick

Defence

Oliver Kylington - Christopher Tanev
Noah Hanifin - Rasmus Andersson
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Gudbranson

Goalies

Dan Vladar - projected starter
Jacob Markstrom