Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #63
Time: 7:30 Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast / Streaming: TVAS SUNS SNO
Opponent SBNation Site: Pension Plan Puppets
What are the Toronto Maple Leafs thinking about today as they face the trade-deadline malingering Tampa Bay Lightning? They’re examining the worth of fourth-liner Tomas Plekanec, who got traded to the Leafs from the Habs yesterday in exchange for a couple of AHL players and a second-round pick. We’ll get to see Plekanec tonight in the lineup, likely a bit gassed for his first game in bleu et blanc, because I’ve never seen a new Maple Leaf not look exhausted after his first encounter with a Mike Babcock morning skate.
Pension Plan Puppets is pretty bullish about the new addition, pointing out that Plekanec will bring defensive responsibility and playmaking to Toronto’s bottom six. They project him playing on a fourth line between Leo Komarov and former Penguins prospect (and erstwhile Marlie) Kasperi Kapanen.
Plekanec is used to playing in a shutdown role, and leads Montreal’s forwards in shorthanded time on ice this season. Per Natural Stat Trick, he’s spent most of his 5 on 5 time this season on a line with Brendan Gallagher, followed by Charles Hudon, Paul Byron, and Artturi Lehkonen; rather than Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, or Jonathan Drouin. He will not carry a line offensively, but he’s known as a dependable two-way centre, and he remains a talented playmaker.
Auston Matthews has been injured since a February 22nd game against the New York Islanders. He was caught in an awkward hit sandwich between Adam Pelech and Cal Clutterbuck, and is day-to-day with an upper body (likely shoulder) injury. In his absence, the first line is still young and lethal, with Mitch Marner centering Matthews’ wingers Zach Hyman and William Nylander.
Edit: Yzerman did the thing.
Will the Bolts be playing distracted today, given the trade deadline? We’ll know a lot more at 3 PM. Up until then, this is our best guess about the lineups.
Tampa Bay Lightning:
????- Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan
Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Chris Kunitz- Tyler Johnson - Yanni Gourde
Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Cory Conacher
Victor Hedman — Anton Stralman
Mikhail Sergachev — Dan Girardi
Braydon Coburn — Andrej Sustr
Will Vladdy be traded? What’s that top line going to look like? What is life? We get to see brand new Leaf Tomas Plekanec, anyway.
Edit: I was right. Tonight’s game will be weird.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
Zach Hyman - Mitch Marner - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Josh Leivo - Tomas Plekanec - Kasperi Kapenaen
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Roman Polak