Toronto Maple Leafs @ Florida Panthers
07:00 PM at FLA Live Arena
Watch on: ESPN+, HULU, TVAS, SNO, SNP
The Leafs last game was at home on April 8 against the Montréal Canadiens, which Toronto won by a score of 7-1. The Leafs have a record of 47-21-11 so far.
The Florida Panthers last played an away game on April 8 against the Washington Capitals. The Panthers won by a score of 4-2, and their current league record is 42-31-7.
The Florida Panthers made big moves in the off-season to try and do better than their 58-win season last year. They brough in Matthew Tkachuk in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau and, based on their respective seasons, the Panthers did very well in that exchange. Despite upgrading the wing, the team overall has been struggling to keep up with the ghost of last year, limping into the a possible playoff spot via the wild card, rather than dominating their way to the top of the division.
This is a must-win game for Florida, they are tied in the wild card with the Islanders at 91 points, and sitting just outside the playoffs are the Pittsburgh Penguins with 90 points. All three teams have just two games remaining to play, so if they want to get in a couple extra home dates this spring by being first round fodder to the Bruins or Hurricanes, they need to win, win, win, no matter what.
Morning Skate via Jameson Olive
Carter Verhaeghe - Aleksander Barkov - Anthony Duclair
Eetu Luostarinen - Anton Lundell - Matthew Tkachuk
Ryan Lomberg - Eric Staal - Sam Reinhart
Nick Cousins - Colin White - Givani Smith
Gustav Forsling - Aaron Ekblad
Marc Staal - Brandon Montour
Josh Mahura - Radko Gudas
The Maple Leafs are confirmed to play the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one. They have locked in home ice, and have three more games to figure out their lines and defense pairings.
Projected lineup via Daily Faceoff
Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
John Tavares - Ryan O'Reilly - William Nylander
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf -Sam Lafferty
Alex Kerfoot - Noel Acciari - Erik Gustafsson
Morgan Rielly - Justin Holl
Jake McCabe - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren
There was no Leafs morning skate today, but reports were that Calle Järnkrok was back on the ice skating after sitting out Saturday's game, Wayne Simmonds was officially sent back to the Marlies, and we're working with the assumption that Joseph Woll will be recalled from the AHL on an emergency basis to back up Samsonov. It hasn't happened yet, but should.
We're also waiting on where or if Matthew Knies slips into the line up. Looking at what we have above a safe assumption would be to put him on the fourth line where Gustafsson is if Järnkrok doesn't draw in.
A must win for Florida, a whatever for Toronto.
The Panthers need a regulation win; they're one ahead of the Islanders right now (36 vs 35) as a first tie breaker for standings order. Both teams have 40 regulation & overtime wins, so the second tie breaker is tied. Any win would keep them ahead of the Penguins, and safer in their spot. They can clinch tonight however:
A real win tonight for the Leafs would be everyone stays healthy and the bottom six get a lot of minutes. Don't overplay anyone of significance this week. Just go and have fun.
On that, we will see you tonight, hopefully before game time we'll have some answer to our questions above.
Go Leafs Go!