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Mind the net (and the injuires), please; Tampa Bay Lightning versus Toronto Maple Leafs preview

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WHERE:St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
WHEN: 7:30 PM EST | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 620 WDAE (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGEPension Plan Puppets

Though the goalie afectionately nicknamed Optimus Reim By Maple Leaf faithful has skated with the team in recent days, James Reimer remains out of action for the Maple Leafs, with a "head injury" suffered on October 22nd afainst the Montreal Canadiens.

Since Reimer went down, the Maple lLeafs hot start has cooled a bit.  Oh, Phil Kessel is still shoving pucks down peoples throats and leading the league in most offensive categories.  Kessel's dominance alone has helped elevate teh Leafs into a contender in the young season.  Yet the goaltender situation has been a quesiton mark with Reimer gone from the lineup.  The Leafs are 6-7-1 since October 22nd.  Not exactly terrible, but it has been casue for concern.

Jonas Gustavsson gets the start tonight in Tampa for the Leafs, he's considered the lesser of the two goalies currently sharing time for the Leafs in net: with 10 appearences, Gustavsson has 8 starts, a 3.46 Goals Agaisnt Average and a sub .900 save percentage.

Ben Scrivens isn't that much better (2.96 GAA, .904 save percentage), but stats would also say that Tampa Bay's goalie tandem is even with these guys.  So, it's all moot.  Dwayne Roloson starts in net for the Lightning, Gustavsson for the Leafs, and the band played on...

[Note by John Fontana, 11/22/11 2:25 PM EST ]  Reimer is due back for the Leafs imminently.  When?  No exact date, but soon.  Very soon.

Tom Pyatt, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Matt Gilroy and Martin St. Louis are battling injuries at current. Not that we know much besides the ambiguous area of injuries that the team reports.  All are expected to play tonight, so that doesn't make much of a difference that they missed practice time or took off early from practice yesterday.

The one change that has been reported via Twitter is that Ryan Shannon is getting a line promotion, one that I personally expected a lot earlier than this -- he'll be playing with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.  Ryan Malone will be playing with Steven Stamkos adn Teddy Purcell.

While Stamkos has seen playing time with Vinny and Marty, it's important that the Lightning actually spread out their offensive firepower instead of stackign one line.  Having a two-line scoring threat (and thus teams having to match two lines, defensively)  is a better strategy than one over-the-top, great-on-paper combo that puts all the big guns out there together.

With the lack of secondary scoring form the roster at current, it's even more important to spread the offensive cogs out with the toolsy players.  

St...  It's something to keep an eye on 

 

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