Maple Leafs (25-16-7) vs. Blackhawks (22-20-6) 7:00 p.m.
Watch on: CBC, Sportsnet, NHLN
Opponent’s site: Second City Hockey

Yes, it will be over a week from tonight before the Maple Leafs play again because of both the consecutive bye week and the NHL All-Star Game break. The team has been stuck in a frustrating win-one-lose-one pattern in January. A win tonight will still hold that pattern, but it will also be nice to go in to this break on a high note.

Maple Leafs Lines (last game)

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitchell Marner
Pierre Engvall - John Tavares - William Nylander
Andreas Johnsson - Alexander Kerfoot - Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov - Frederik Gauthier - Jason Spezza

Martin Marincin - Tyson Barrie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Cody Ceci

Frederik Andersen
Michael Hutchinson

Don’t get hung up on those lines though. Who will actually play tonight is a mystery.

The dreaded “dealing with things.” It could be Engvall who was badly roughed up in the last game, though if that was a head injury as some suspect he may have had then you would expect they would automatically keep him out. Perhaps Johnsson wasn’t as ready to return as he thought? Keefe bluntly stated his conditioning was not up to par—he was out of breath after even a short shift—after the last game.

Or it could be someone has the flu, or stubbed their toe, or anything, really. If it’s something on the defence side we might get Timothy Liljegren finally on the ice for a game. There’s no confirmation Andrersen is in yet either.

We’ll have to wait and see. Updates will be posted here if available.

Blackhawks Lines

Dominik Kubalik - Jonathan Toews - Drake Caggiula
Alexander Nylander (!!) - Ryan Carpenter - Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat - David Kampf - Kirby Dach
Dylan Sikura - Zack Smith - Matthew Highmore

Duncan Keith - Adam Boqvist
Erik Gustafsson - Connor Murphy
Olli MaattaSlater Koekkoek

Corey Crawford
Robin Lehner

Dylan Strome and Brandon Saad have been out with injuries but are close to returning and are at least a possibility to play tonight. Perhaps they will also do the warm-up skate test to see how they feel about playing in this one.

Duncan Keith is out with a groin injury, and Andrew Shaw is out with a concussion. Brent Seabrook is out for basically total body bone and ligament replacement surgery which will take five years or something. Despite all those missing pieces, the Hawks are on a three game win streak and they need that to keep going to claw their way back up into a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The first game the Leafs and Hawks played this season was back on November 10. The Leafs were down 4-1 at the end of the first period, but stormed back, making a ridiculous 57 shots on goal in the game. With a final goal from Johnsson with less than a minute left, they turned a first period blowout in to a real game, though still lost by one.

But will any of them even have their mind on the game tonight with all their big plans for the next week?

We’ll see.