TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS VS COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
7:00PM - SCOTIABANK ARENA - TSN4 / TVA SPORTS
It's Pride Night in Toronto! The Maple Leafs are taking their turn and welcoming everyone to the game to have a great time, celebrate, and enjoy the Leafs win against an AHL team.
The Maple Leafs final specialty game, part of the "Maple Leafs Culture" series, is their Pride night. A spotlight has been shone on this particular night across the league for unfortunate reasons, but the Leaf aren't letting other teams' mistakes ruin their plans.
There's specialty merchandise for sale at the game and online at Real Sports:
Twenty percent of proceeds will go to the Toronto Gay Hockey Association, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates a non-contact league for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, and heterosexual people over 19.
As usual, the team will have special training gear - shirts, hats, etc.. - to wear ahead of the game, and they will be designed by Toronto artist Jon Hanlan. I'm sure these will be auctioned off on Real Sports Auctions post-game, as they have done in past years.
There will be special food stands in the arena, as well as performances in Ford Square and the concourse throughout the game highlighting talent from the 2SLGBTQ+ community such as Vision Drag: Celebrity Impressionist Drag Queen.
We'll have a great time tonight at the game, watching from home, and here in the game day thread.
The Columbus Blue Jackets last played on Sunday, and defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in Overtime.
After making one of their biggest free agent signings ever this off-season - Johnny Gaudreau - the Blue Jackets find themselves at the bottom of the NHL standings, sharing second last with the Anaheim Ducks at 56 points, only two above Chicago in last place.
Gaudreau hasn't been as bad as the team, scoring 19 goals, with 52 assists, for 71 points in 74 games so far this year.
Columbus has a lot of regulars out of the game tonight, Laine, Bean, Werenski, so we may see some AHLers come out hard on the big stage to prove they have what it takes to play in the big leagues ahead of free agency.
Lines - via Daily Faceoff
Johnny Gaudreau - Boone Jenner - Kirill Marchenko
Kent Johnson - Sean Kuraly - Liam Foudy
Eric Robinson - Justin Richards - Emil Bemstrom
Joona Louto - Josh Dunne - Hunter McKown
Tim Berni - Andrew Peeke
Gavin Bayreuther - Billy Sweezey
Jake Christiansen - Marcus Bjork
Cambridge boy Jet Greaves gets his first NHL start tonight, and I'm sure he'll have a big contingent of friends and family cheering him on. If you're the pessimist type of Leafs fan, bet on a Columbus shutout.
The Toronto Maple Leafs last game was Sunday night, where they lost 5-2 to the Detroit Red Wings.
It's the Maple Leafs in the end stretch before the playoffs, so we aren't really sure what to expect. A loss to Detroit? A shutout over Ottawa? Honestly, we don't know how the Leafs will respond to this opponent right now, and isn't that mystery part of the fun of the game? No. It's not. Beat Columbus hard, like you should.
Ryan O'Reilly is back in the lineup for morning skate, taking the wing next to John Tavares.
Lines via David Alter
Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Calle Järnkrok
Ryan O'Rielly* - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Sam Lafferty
Nick Abruzzese - Noel Acciari - Alex Kerfoot
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Mar Giordano - Timothy Liljegren
Jake McCabe - Justin Holl
Woll is up on an emergency basis to cover for Matt Murray, who is out with a head injury and 'other stuff', and Radim Zohorna is back with the Marlies.
*William Nylander took the morning skate off, and will play tonight.
I honestly do not know what to expect. O'Rielly isn't back, like we hoped, but he's getting closer. As the rest of the latest games have gone, we should expect this to be nothing more than playoff preparedness. Get Woll starts so he's ready to be back up. Get O'Reilly back to game shape. Figure out that bottom six, and the defence pairings. Give the stars more rest. Just get ready.
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