Toronto Maple Leafs @ Tampa Bay Lightning
07:00 PM at Amalie Arena
Watch on: NHLN, CBC, SNO, SNW, BSSUN
The Leafs last game was an away game on October 19 against the Florida Panthers, which Toronto lost by a score of 3-1. The Leafs have a record of 2-2-0 so far.
The Tampa Bay Lightning last played at home on October 19 against the Vancouver Canucks. The Lightning won by a score of 4-3, and their current league record is 2-2-1.
This is the HNIC game, so it will be available to stream in Canada on CBC Gem.
Where to begin with this team? The goalies, who are objectively two of the lesser quality backups in the NHL, or maybe the forward lines where Alex Barre-Boulet was on waivers on October 10, and is now on the top line.
The Lightning are as cap-strapped as the Leafs and are in permanent LTIR this season. While Andrei Vasilevskiy is recovering from surgery, they have enough space to carry extra players, but once he's back, it tightens right up again. So that means they haven't filled in the ranks with expensive players, they've just got more of their $800k recalls floating around in the lineup. (Also another damn Raddysh.)
Gabby Shirley via Daily Faceoff
Alex Barre-Boulet - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Anthony Cirelli - Brandon Hagel
Tanner Jeannot - Nick Paul - Waltteri Merelä
Conor Sheary - Luke Glendening - Michael Eyssimont
Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
Calvin de Haan - Nicklaus Perbix
Jonas Johansson - confirmed starter
A quick round of Tyler Bertuzzi won't play – yes, he will – no, he won't – yup, he's in resulted in the recall of Pontus Holmberg. His new coach has joined the long list of coaches who are fans:
What that actually means is that he's likely to come in for Fraser Minten. Minten is also going to become all those things that Homberg is, and likely quite a bit more. The balancing act now is to keep him on the Leafs – in whatever capacity – while it's still doing him some good before he goes back to working towards that ultimate future. I think Minten's future in the NHL is going to come a lot sooner than many people might be thinking. Much like Matt Knies, the traditional AHL year next year might never be necessary. We'll see in time.
Tyler Bertuzzi - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Matt Knies - John Tavares - William Nylander
Max Domi - David Kämpf - Calle Järnkrok
Noah Gregor - Pontus Holmberg - Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake McCabe - Timothy Liljegren
Mark Giordano - John Klingberg
Ilya Samsonov - likely starter
This is a hell of a goalie duel we've got going on here. Johansson, whose status as the Lightning starter is akin to one of those movies where some actor of comedian ends up President of the United States and ultimately rises to the occasion. I always feel those movies are about a couple of things – that acting like you know what you're doing is half the job, but also that the myth that anyone can be President is a fantasy that requires movie magic to pull off, but the barrier isn't necessarily lack of competence.
As for the myth that any goalie can be an NHL starter, just try them all, Johansson doesn't convince. He's played four games and allowed 14 goals. Meanwhile in Toronto, Woll and Samsonov have combined for four games and allowed 14 goals. If you dig in a little to the Expected Goals, Johansson actually comes out looking a little better, but then if you dig into the Lightning's defencemen and their overall defensive play, they look ... actually they're exactly identical to the Leafs at 5on5.
I haven't watched the Lightning, so I don't know if they're better by What the Hell Was That! per 60 minutes, but they might be. Meanwhile, if we had time to look away from the puck bouncing over John Klingberg's stick whereupon he goes for a casual skate to retrieve it, we might notice the Leafs goalies are terrible so far.
This game is like a sword fight between two top fighters, only they each have a broken leg and half their armour is in the wash. Usually you get this sort of thing in the playoffs, not October. But here we are: Try not to fall over, Leafs!