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FTB: The Leafs lineup will change for game #2

Kyle Clifford is out, but will Michael Bunting be back in?

Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game One Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The Maple Leafs are back tonight for a follow up to Monday’s blowout win over the Lightning. The energy in the city seems to be perking up around game #2 after the first win. I think even the most cynical of Leafs Playoffs fans were pretty stoked by that huge win. The weather will be turning this afternoon too, with the rain ending by noon, so expect a huge crowd to turn out at York and Bremner tonight, and the road closures to start early.

The Leafs don’t even need a repeat of the blowout here; any kind of win to put them up 2-0 before the series shifts down to Florida for the weekend will be a huge boost. I do worry the Lightning will perk up significantly once they get their home crowd behind them.

One Leaf we know won’t be playing tonight is Kyle Clifford who was suspended for this game by the league.

There should be a morning skate where the news will come out about who subs in for Clifford, and other possible lineup changes for the game. There is that old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and while that aphorism may hold up, if Michael Bunting is ready to come back from his injury there will need to be some moves made. Sheldon Keefe usually holds on to these changes like a state secret in the playoffs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Keefe says that Bunting is a “game time decision,” so that he can throw off John Cooper with how he assembles the team tonight.

On the other hand, we wonder how Morgan Rielly is doing.

He says it’s “fine,” but notice how he casually had his hand hidden in the hoodie’s pocket so no one could actually see it.

Tonight’s game is another 7:30 p.m. start. We’ll have our full preview of the game out this afternoon

Other Series

The first round is always so fun and full of wild games and last night did not disappoint. The Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers game went to a ridiculous third overtime. While Shesterkin made 79 saves in the game, he couldn’t close it out with an 80th one. Our old Leafs friend Kasperi Kapanen got the second assist on this one.

The Penguins called in Louis Domingue after Casey DeSmith was injured in this game. You may recall Domingue is a long time journeyman goalie, famous for absolutely loving to play the puck, even if it means wandering far from the net. Also he bakes pies for his teammates. I’m serious!

The Colorado Avalanche absolutely destroyed the Nashville Predators, exactly as expected;

but the heavily favoured Florida Panthers actually lost their first game to the Washington Capitals and now everyone is retconning their predictions for that series;

and the Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars series turned into a gong show in less than 20 minutes, with Matthew Tkachuk right in the middle of it all, exactly as expected. I’m using the French clip here as YouTube has slapped a content warning for violence on the English video published by Sportsnet that blocks it from being embedded. I’m not joking. Tkachuk is so out of control he even made the YouTube algorithm mad.

The Flames won that game 1-0, for the record.