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Canucks at Maple Leafs Preview and Game Thread: All eyes on Toronto as Wayne celebrates 1000

Choo Choo!

Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 19: Jason Spezza #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal with Wayne Simmonds #24 against the Calgary Flames during the first period at the Scotiabank Arena on March 19, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Vancouver Canucks @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #55

7:00 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena
TV/Streaming: Sportsnet (not CBC)
Opponent’s SB Nation Site: Nucks Misconduct

It is remarkable to me that Wayne Simmonds is celebrating his 1000th career NHL game at only the age of 33. When I think of players hitting the eon milestone, I think of guys on their very last legs, days away from retirement. And while Simmonds isn’t the fast, crafty, dominant player he was in his prime who was both incredible off the rush and in front of the net, he’s still got a lot of game left in him, even for someone with 1219 penalty minutes in his career. He’s travelled some hard miles, which has probably taken away from my favourite parts about him: his incredible skating and hands.

So tonight we celebrate the Wayne Train. I hope he scores tonight, and Omar gets that amazing t-shirt!

As for the game tonight, the Leafs showed off some new lines yesterday, including Nick Robertson getting a look on the second line next to Tavares and Nylander. I’ve written already about how this might not be the best move for any of them, but there’s a small chance it turns into something great. Here’s hoping for greatness.

The other news that has everyone talking is the absence of Rasmus Sandin. We’ve said before, Sandin is out with an illness (the stomach bug that’s been going around the team). He was sent down to the Marlies yesterday to get Mac Hollowell up to be the extra emergency replacement should someone else on defense get sick. He’s not demoted or buried, they just needed an extra body.

Jack Campbell gets the start tonight. Hopefully him liking Saturday night games can get him going again, though it didn’t exactly work out last time.

Leafs Lineup

Forwards

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Nick Robertson - John Tavares - William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev - David Kämpf - Pierre Engvall
Alex Kerfoot - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds
OUT: Ondřej Kaše (illness), Kyle Clifford (scratched)

Defense*

Morgan Rielly - Timothy Liljegren
TJ Brodie - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Ilya Lyubushkin
OUT: Jake Muzzin (concussion), Mac Hollowell (scratched)

Goalies

Jack Campbell - confirmed starter
Petr Mrázek

As for the Canucks, there’s been lots of kind words being thrown in both directions as reporters ask coaches and players about their potential future teammates. JT Miller, especially. Also Bruce Boudreau can’t stop being a Leafs fan.

Canucks Lineup

Forwards

Tanner Pearson - J.T. Miller - Brock Boeser
Nils Hoglander - Elias Pettersson - Conor Garland
Vasily Podkolzin - Bo Horvat - Alex Chiasson
Tyler Motte - Juho Lammikko - Matthew Highmore
OUT: Jason Dickinson (injured), Philippe Di Giuseppe (scratched)

Defense*

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Tyler Myers
Quinn Hughes - Luke Schenn
Brad Hunt - Travis Hamonic
OUT: Kyle Burroughs (injured), Tucker Poolman (injured), Madison Bowey (scratched)

Goalies

Thatcher Demko - confirmed starter
Jaroslav Halak