Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings
7 pm on SNO and BSDETX (who knows what that actually means)
It’s the penultimate game of the regular season, and there is one tiny scrap of a point to it. The Leafs lock up second place if they take one point out of this game (also if Tampa takes less than two points in their game tonight).
Expect the Red Wings brass to be busy looking over draft lists in the pressbox and lamenting how good the Canadiens are at coming last. In fairness to the Red Wings, they have actually prioritized building a team system this season over coming in last, they just have a really weak set of players. This is the NHL, though, and even a weak team wins 31 times.
Meanwhile the Leafs have a very late season lineup planned.
The Red Wings are coming off a shutout defeat of the New Jersey Devils
I just want to stand back and look at this late-season defence-free game and marvel at it.
Detroit currently has four goalies on their roster, including our old friend Calvin Pickard on emergency loan, so I assume everyone is injured. That shutout of the Devils was courtesy of Alex Nedljvovic, a $3 million, below-average goalie. Thomas Greiss is a $3.6 million even more below-average goalie.
Since this game is in Canada (in Gary Bettman voice, followed by a big sigh), poor misunderstood Tyler Bertuzzi can’t play, so some adjustment to the lineup will make the team worse than usual. Marc Staal is also in Covid protocol, so he’s not available. Joe Veleno played as their 1C in the last game, so that means Dylan Larkin is out, and it turns out he is all the way out after having surgery a week ago.
This is their last lineup minus Bertuzzi:
??? - Joe Veleno - Lucas Raymond
Jakub Vrana - Pius Suter - Sam Gagner
Adam Erne - Michael Rsmussen - Oskar Sundqvist
Olli Juolevi - Mitchell Stephens - Taro Hirose
Dan Dekeyser - Moritz Seider
Marc Staal - Filip Hronek
Jake Walman - Gustav Lindström
I’m assuming Ned plays out the season for them with whoever is handy as a backup. The keen-eyed will notice a defenceman playing forward last game, so they need to add several players for today.
Petr Mrazek working his way back from a groin injury sustained March 29 (minimum six week timeline) @reporterchris reported that the goalie started skating again last week@TSN_Edge pic.twitter.com/d3uJdqNyp3— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) April 26, 2022
Also at skate today were Michael Bunting, Ondřej Kaše and Rasmus Sandin, none of whom are playing tonight. Expected lines are:
Jake Muzzin returns and Alex Kerfoot joins the top line.— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) April 26, 2022
Leafs projected lineup:
Kerfoot — Matthews — Marner
Robertson — Tavares — Mikheyev
Nylander — Kampf — Engvall
Abruzzese — Blackwell — Spezza
Rielly — Lyubushkin
Muzzin — Brodie
Giordano — Liljegren
Campbell gets the start.
Honestly, I don’t care if the Wings goalie does his best Dominik Hasek impression, if the Leafs can’t win this in regulation, they should all be traded. Today. Sometimes there really is no acceptable excuse.