Tampa Bay Lightning @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #28
7:00 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena
Opponent’s Site: Raw Charge
Believe it or not, but Riley Nash has found his way back in Toronto after getting claimed on waivers by the Lightning earlier this week. After a couple practices, he is going to be in the lineup tonight, joining Zach Bogosian as the two former Leafs on the team.
The Lightning have been without their two best players this season in Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. Despite missing them, the team has done surprisingly well. Led by a rejuvenated Steven Stamkos with 12 goals and 28 points in 24 games, the Lightning are only two points back of the Leafs for second place in the North Division and a three-way tie for first place.
Having watched this season as much as I have, I can say that Andrei Vasilevskiy has been reasons one and two for why this team has been as good as it has, but I can’t neglect how strong this team’s work-ethic and defense has been. They’ve had a lot of luck (including some great goaltending) but the offense has still been very good from a shots perspective.
The team has tried to keep the top-six as strong as possible, avoiding the desire to spread the talent out — Mathieu Joseph has been a revelation alongside finals rival Corey Perry recently. And despite the lack of finishers in the bottom six, they’ve still been able to win their battles with essentially split offensive and defensive fourth lines. Sorta like what the Leafs are doing except they actually have people who can score whereas the Leafs have Pierre Engvall and Kyle Clifford.
As for the Leafs, it looks like they’re going with the same lineup as last game.
Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Wayne Simmonds
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Nick Ritchie - David Kämpf - Ondřej Kaše
Kyle Clifford - Pierre Engvall - Alex Steeves
Injured: Mitchell Marner
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Kristīans Rubīns - Timothy Liljegren
Injured: Rasmus Sandin, Travis Dermott
Jack Campbell - confirmed starter
Anthony Cirelli not on the ice for morning skate in Toronto. #GoBolts— Dave Randorf (@DaveRandorf) December 9, 2021
Recapping Jon Cooper's post-morning skate availability, Anthony Cirelli is a game-time decision for tonight in Toronto, Riley Nash will make his Lightning debut. #TBLvsTOR #GoBolts— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) December 9, 2021
Ondřej Palát — Steven Stamkos — Mathieu Joseph
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli* — Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon — Pierre-Édouard Bellemare — Riley Nash
Taylor Raddysh — Ross Colton — Boris Katchouk
Scratched: Gabriel Fortier**
Injured: Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point,
* Cirelli game-time decision
**Unconfirmed, but Riley Nash is in
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev — Cal Foote
Scratched: Fredrik Claesson
Injured: Erik Černák
Andrei Vasilevskiy - Projected Starter