Buffalo Sabres @ Toronto Maple Leafs
06:30 PM at Joe Thornton Community Centre
Watch on: NHLN, SN1, TVAS2, MSG-B
It's time to get out of the city for the Hockeyville game! This year, the winner of the contest in Canada is West Lorne, Ontario. Where is that? Well, get on the 401 and go west, and if you find yourself in Detroit, you've gone too far.
What does West Lorne have to do with St. Thomas and why is the game there? They're both in Elgin County, and while the arena in West Lorne wasn't up to hosting an NHL preseason game, the Joe Thornton Arena in St. Thomas is, so everyone from West Lorne gets to drive there to see the Leafs.
But West Lorne is really in Red Wings country, isn't it? Shhhh. Just go with it.
The Leafs paid a visit this morning:
The Sabres are a team with things to prove. And as I'm sure you've noticed from the intense media scrutiny, Owen Power, Rasmus Dahlin and Peyton Krebs all need new contracts after this season, so all three of them will play at centre in preseason as a clever ploy to get more money. Unfortunately their big guns played yesterday in another game, so the crew Buffalo sent out into the country today to find the Leafs doesn't have a lot of their top players.
Today's roster is:
I note they have one Londoner as well, and a lot of people I've never heard of. I won't pretend to be able to make lines out of that.
John Tavares makes his preseason debut as the captain of the host team today, and Easton Cowan gets to play again as the closest thing to a hometown boy the Leafs have for this game, but mainly because he is awesome.
The lines will come from this roster:
Guessing at combinations:
Matt Knies - John Tavares - Sam Lafferty
Max Domi - Easton Cowan - Nick Robertson
Roni Hirvonen - Pontus Holmberg - Alex Steeves
Kyle Clifford - Fraser Minten - Noah Gregor
Jake McCabe - John Klingberg
William Lagesson - Timothy Liljegren
Max Lajoie - Conor Timmins
Note the start time of the game, but allow for some pre-game ceremonial stuff as well. I am disappointed that the Leafs didn't put Joe Thornton on a PTO for this game, but you can't have everything.
Sheldon Keefe has said he's going to keep Cowan on the team until someone makes him give him back to the London Knights (exact words), so really the point of this game is to watch the newest Leaf play hockey. I guessed big on making him the 2C and giving him Nylander's line from yesterday's practice, but why not?
There likely won't be official stats for the game, since it's not in an NHL arena. Any updates on lines or any news will get added below.
Go Leafs Go!