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Playoff Game Day #1: Hope and fear begins here

It all starts at 7:30PM

Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lightning
THIS HOUSE HAS THE PASSION
Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

2022 NHL PLAYOFFS ROUND ONE
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS VS TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
7:30PM - SCOTIABANK ARENA
CBC, ESPN2, NHL LIVE, SPORTSNET, TVA SPORTS
OPPONENTS: RAW CHARGE

Hundreds of days, dozens of weeks of waiting and now the Toronto Maple Leafs are once again in the playoffs. and for the first time in a long, long, long time they open their first round series on home ice.

The opponent is the back to back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. This fact worries some people, but not me. We have some of the best offensive players on our side. We have some nice guys on defence and goaltending. Tampa has some good players, but they tend to do things like kick puppies, slash fans tires, and write passive aggressive posts on Nextdoor about their neighbours instead of just talking to them about the size of the hedges, Steven.

I was going to write lots of things in this preview, like who the Black Aces are this year, or that Ondřej Kaše is suiting up tonight, but everyone else already wrote about those things so I’ll just link to them and then post some lines.

So that’s some good info there, and then Hardev interviewed himself about this series:

Looking over at our rivals website, who also stole our blue and white colours, Raw Charge is getting excited for the Lightning to be the first back-to-back-to-back champions since the Gretzky Oilers.

This Lightning team is a Dynasty. These back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships have cemented their legacy from “great team that couldn’t win it all” to “Dynasty.” Plain and simple.

I’m excited to crush some dreams over the next two weeks.

Let’s take a look at some lines, shall we?

Lightning Lines

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Anthony Cirelli
Alex Killorn - Ross Colton - Nick Paul
Patrick Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Cal Foote

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Brian Elliott

No former Leafs there, but our old friend from last years playoffs Corey Perry is back to haunt us. Just keep him away from John Tavares.

Leafs Lines

Alexander Kerfoot - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Ilya Mikheyev - John Tavares - Ondřej Kaše
William Nylander - David Kämpf - Pierre Engvall
Kyle Clifford - Colin Blackwell - Wayne Simmonds

Morgan Rielly - Ilya Lyubushkin
Jake Muzzin - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren

Jack Campbell
Erik Källgren

Injuries: Petr Mrázek, Rasmus Sandin, Michael Bunting

So, the first question is how far into this series will Jake Muzzin make it?

That’s mean, but you need to know these things.

Jason Spezza sits game one. How often will he come into the line up? Is it all up to Colin Blackwells play or are we alternating the fourth line centre?

We know Keefe enjoys mixing lines up into the game, so if Ondřej Kaše isn’t up to second line status on his return who moves up? My guess is it depends on how the game is going. If the Leafs are winning, Nyander. If they’re losing, Engvall.

Finally, before we get on with the game, here is how they stacked up over the regular season.

Preview Stats

Toronto Team Tampa
Toronto Team Tampa
3-3 Series 3-3
23GF - 21GA - +2 Goal Differential 21GF - 23GA - -2
16% - 11th Power Play 22.6% - 7th
77.4% - 10th Penalty Kill 84% - 6th
Auston Matthews - 4 Most Goals Colton, Palat - 3
Mitch Marner - 5 Most Assists Nikita Kucherov - 6
Auston Matthews - 8 Most Points Nikita Kucherov - 8
Ilya Lyubushkin - 18 Most PM Jan Rutta - 17
TJ Brodie - 22:44 TOI Leader Victor Hedman - 25:45
Jack Campbell - .893sv% Starting Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy - .885sv%

There are also three other games tonight, and all games are staggered starts to stop whining about that.

Playoff schedule for May 2nd, 2022

7:00PM
Boston Bruins @ Carolina Hurricanes
NESN, ESPN, SN360, TVAS2, BSSO

7:30PM
Tampa Bay Lighting @ Toronto Maple Leafs
CBC, SN, TVAS, ESPN2, BSSUN

9:30PM
St. Louis Blues @ Minnesota Wild
SN360, TVAS2, ESPN, BSN, BSWI, BSMW

10:00PM
Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers
CBC, SN, TVAS, ESPN2, BSW

It’s the chaos of the first round.

GO LEAFS GO!