Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Broadcast: SNO (blackouts in effect)
Opponent SBNation Site: Raw Charge

Our game preview with projected lineups is here.

It’s that time of year when University students in Ontario are taking final exams for the end of the fall semester. For the Maple Leafs, this game feels like a mid-term exam. The Lightning are unquestionably a top team in the Eastern Conference and possibly the whole league.

The Leafs have had two games on the road leading up to this with very different results: losing badly to the Boston Bruins, then easily defeating the Carolina Hurricanes. Those games were like pop-quizzes on the way to tonight’s exam.


Marlies goaltending nearing crisis levels following 8-1 humiliation - Hardev
Does anyone know where the Dmytro Timashov doghouse is located?


I hope the Leafs hit the books and studied hard over the past two days. On top of all the pressure of playing the best in the league, the Leafs mothers are there in person to watch this game. You know Jake Gardiner’s mom is totally the mid-western passive-agressive type.

You know there Jake there’s that Matt Niskanen on the Capitals, right? Well I was in the Mall of America the other day and I happened to bump into his mother there at Pottery Barn and wouldn’t you know she was talking about what a great back-hand pass he has and I wondered why don’t you ask him about how he does that so well dontchathink?

Tonight is no ordinary mid-week game. It’s increasingly likely the Leafs will face the Lightning in the key second round of the playoffs—if they make it there. The whole league is paying attention to this game. A win against the Lightning will be a big deal and say a lot about what this team can do. A humiliating loss will be a big deal too, and you can bet that will get huge amounts of airtime in the media.

Let’s properly set the theme for the evening. This will be a dreadful fight.