Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers: 7:30 p.m.
Watch on: Sportsnet, MSG
Opponent’s site: That site full of people who didn’t like my trade for Lundqvist story. (I’m so sorry.)
I feel like we just did this jaunt to New York to play the Rangers. It turns out that was way back in December, and the Leafs lost in overtime to the famous Alexandar Georgiev, most sought-after goalie since teams were trying to get Tuukka Rask. (I am sorry for that one.)
The Leafs have a goalie issue right now, as you know, and Frederik Andersen is not playing in this game. Neither is Frederik Gauthier, it seems, but the rest of the lineup is the current standard crew.
This time last year, the Leafs were just getting to know Jake Muzzin, and it sure seems like sooner rather than later would be good if the Leafs are pulling the trigger on a deal this year, but for now, the players that we know are capable of some of the most exciting offence in the NHL in years will just have to do.
Maple Leafs Lines
from Tuesday’s practice
Alexander Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Andreas Johnsson - Pierre Engvall - Kasperi Kapanen
Trevor Moore - Jason Spezza - Dmytro Timashov
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Tyson Barrie
Rasmus Sandin - Cody Ceci
Phil Di Giuseppe - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Jesper Fast
Brett Howden - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Brendan Lemieux - Brendan McKegg - Brendan Smith
Brady Skjei - Adam Fox
Ryan Lindgren - Jacob Trouba
Marc Staal - Anthony DeAngelo
One of Henrik Lundqvist or Alexandar Georgiev
Okay, wait. Phil Di Giuseppe? He’s the decent AHLer that Bill Peters used to pair up with Jeff Skinner down in Carolina to teach him how to play right. (It’s a mystery to me that Skinner didn’t work out in Carolina.) So what is Phil doing on the top line in New York City?
Chris Kreider heads to the locker room after taking a knee to the head from teammate Mika Zibanejad. pic.twitter.com/sxyyhfUxKt— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 2, 2020
Oh, yeah. Kreider didn’t play in the Rangers most recent game, but he’s definitely still on the trade block, and at some point they’ll need to put him in for proof of life. Tonight might be the night. But if not, this is a bit of the Rangers short-term future on display with this lineup.
The Rangers actually have the same number of regulation wins as the Leafs, but at only 54 points, they are out of the race, and they know it. Their fans know it too:
I remember writing articles like that. It’s fun to just give in and go for the let’s sell the floorboards out from under us mood, but it’s not as much fun as actually winning games and playing in the playoffs.
Which brings me to the Leafs. Kreider or not, hot young goalie prospect or not, the Leafs need to play this game like they proved they can against the Florida Panthers. If they do that, and if they perhaps remember that no backup goalie can handle constant net-front attacks, things can go our way even while Frederik Andersen is sitting out.
That’s the plan, anyway. Go Leafs Go!