Toronto Maple Leafs @ Colorado Avalanche: Game #33
7:00 p.m. ET at Ball Arena
TV/Streaming: CBC, SN, SN360, City, NHLN, Altitude
Opponent’s Site: Mile High Hockey

The Maple Leafs are back out west to play Nazem Kadri and the Avalanche tonight. Both teams share only 10 losses this season and haven’t lost a game in about a month. Granted, both teams have only played a few games since the pandemic wave.

The Leafs will be without Mitch Marner, Pierre Engvall, and Ondřej Kaše tonight, reducing a fair bit of their strength at the wing, meaning Nick Ritchie, Kyle Clifford, and Brett Seney will be drawing in. On the Avalanche side, only Valeri Nichushkin and the aging/bad Jack Johnson are out with injury. Safe to say the Leafs have an uphill battle tonight on the road.

Tonight’s game sees two founders of the Hockey Diversity Alliance playing each other in Kadri and Wayne Simmonds. The HDA released an ad campaign this morning putting the racism they and many other people in hockey have faced. Rick Westhead of TSN shared a report this morning as well, alleging the NHL and NHLPA refused to partner with their players on this campaign, and even went the step further of refusing to allow players like Simmonds and Kadri to wear their team jerseys in the ad.

The Leafs made sure to display Wayne in a Leafs jersey with a strong message from him and them against racism.

The Avalanche didn’t share any message, only retweeting Kadri’s post.

See, it’s this kind of stuff we point to when we say the NHL perpetuates the status quo of racism in its league. It’s not just the NHL who defends racism and sexism, Hockey PEI and USA Hockey is full of it too, but the NHL actively gets in the way of good. And in this case, we can point to the NHL and NHLPA without having any whataboutisms.

Leafs Lineup

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Alex Kerfoot
Ilya Mikheyev - John Tavares - William Nylander
Nick Ritchie - David Kämpf - Jason Spezza
Kyle Clifford - Brett Seney - Wayne Simmonds

OUT: Ondřej Kaše (injury), Mitchell Marner (COVID), Pierre Engvall (COVID), Joey Anderson (scratched)

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Travis Dermott

OUT: Timothy Liljegren (scratched), Alex Biega (scratched)

Jack Campbell - confirmed starter
Petr Mrázek

The Leafs forward lines are pretty thin at the moment. The first line is going to be the Auston Matthews show, the second line will get lots of shots...from Mikheyev, the third line seems like it has no aligned direction, and the fourth line is the fourth line. Defense looks good, though.

Avs Lineup

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - Logan O’Connor
J.T. Compher - Alex Newhook - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Kurtis MacDermid - Tyson Jost - Darren Helm

Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Bowen Byram - Samuel Girard
Ryan Murray - Erik Johnson

Darcy Kuemper - unconfirmed starter
Pavel Francouz

The Avs coach doesn’t like sharing his lineups or goalie situation for some reason, he’s always been secretive about that. Otherwise, the Avs have their top three lines intact. As for the defense, it’s quite a mobile bunch.