Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: TNT, CBC, TVAS, SN
Now that the new round smell is worn off, let's get back to work beating the Florida Panthers. The Leafs played well in Game 1, and looked very dangerous on the power play, but late period struggles led to the game slipping away from them. It wasn't Ilya Samsonov's best game, as he allowed four goals on 2.5 expected. On the bright side, Matthew Knies scored a brilliant first career goal in the NHL.
The Leafs weren't the only #2 seed to lose to a wild card team the other night, as the Dallas Stars look to get one back on the Seattle Kraken in the late game.
We don't know if there will be any changes to the Panthers lines, though after a win it's not very likely. Game 1 was interesting for the Panthers, because despite Paul Maurice's 5-1 hand gestures, the Leafs only had six and a half minutes on the power play to the Panthers two minutes. Not a huge difference. That said, Maurice only played his fourth line for about five minutes and his big forwards over 20, so that's where the series will be won.
Game 1 via Daily Faceoff
Carter Verhaeghe - Aleksander Barkov - Anthony Duclair
Matthew Tkachuk - Sam Bennett - Nick Cousins
Eetu Luostarinen - Anton Lundell - Sam Reinhart
Colin White - Eric Staal - Zac Dalpe
Gustav Forsling - Aaron Ekblad
Marc Staal - Brandon Montour
Josh Mahura - Radko Gudas
The Leafs haven't had a formal practice since Game 1, instead they held two optional skates yesterday and today. As a result, we don't know what lines Sheldon Keefe is going to run. That being said, let's start with the little that we do know and then update the rest closer to game-time.
One change Keefe is making is with the fourth line, opting for speed and maximizing Kerfoot on the left side this time around. The fourth line in the last game got, uhh, crushed. They were the worst line for the Leafs (under 20% shots and 33% xG).
One thing this confirms is the Leafs intention to go 12/6 instead of 11/7. Expect Timothy Liljegren to stay in the lineup after the pair with him and Mark Giordano had a good (but not perfect) night.
As for the top-nine, Keefe has hinted at reuniting Matthews and Marner. We'll see if he does it. I would consider promoting Michael Bunting up into the top six as well since he had one of the better nights among the Leafs in Game 1, including scoring a goal.
Speculated changes after Game 1
Matthew Knies - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Michael Bunting - John Tavares - William Nylander
Calle Järnkrok - Ryan O'Reilly - Noel Acciari
Alex Kerfoot - David Kämpf - Sam Lafferty
Morgan Rielly - Luke Schenn
Jake McCabe - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren
Power play and goaltending. Let's see how this goes!
Go Leafs Go!