Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Scotiabank Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, TSN4
Opponent SBNation Site: Pension Plan Puppets
In the grand scheme of things, this game doesn’t really matter. The Bolts have locked up the President’s Trophy. The Leafs can’t catch the Bruins for home ice. Basically, both teams’ last two games are warm-up games for the playoffs and a chance for injured (and sick) players to get back into game shape. Both teams are coming off losses to desperate, fighting-for-wild-card-spots teams in Montreal and Carolina.
The Leafs have pretty much been sick since the All-Star break. And not in a good way. Various players have missed games and practices due to the flu. They’re carrying ten defensemen and were hoping to have Jake Gardiner (who hasn’t played since February) return from injury in this game. If he is healthy enough to play, the Leafs will likely run seven defensemen to ease him back into the lineup with Trevor Moore coming out of the lineup on the fourth line. Jake Muzzin and Nazem Kadri both missed the morning skate and will not play tonight.
Meanwhile, the Bolts are banged up on the blueline as well, with Victor Hedman not returning until the playoffs and Dan Girardi still out indefinitely. As a result, the Bolts are carrying nine defensemen, but it should be the same blueline as the one they iced on Tuesday. Louis Domingue, also injured, will sit this one out as well.
This will be the final meeting of the regular season between these two (who knows what the playoffs may hold). Tampa holds the season series advantage 2-1, outscoring Toronto 12-7 in three games. Their last meeting was not pretty for the Leafs — and they’ll look for redemption tonight. But really, let’s just hope that this is the end of the injuries for everyone. After all, we’ll want both teams at full strength if they meet in the second round.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson
Yanni Gourde - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Ryan Callahan - Cedric Paquette - Adam Erne
Scratched: J.T. Miller, Danick Martel
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Anton Stralman - Mikhail Sergachev
Braydon Coburn - Jan Rutta
Scratched: Cameron Gaunce
Injured: Victor Hedman, Dan Girardi
Injured: Louis Domingue
Toronto Maple Leafs
Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Auston Matthews - Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson - William Nylander - Connor Brown
Tyler Ennis - Frederik Gauthier - Trevor Moore
Scratched: Nazem Kadri, Nic Petan
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Calle Rosen
Scratched: Jake Muzzin, Igor Ozhiganov, Martin Marincin, Justin Holl
After morning skate, Mike Babcock confirmed neither Muzzin nor Kadri would play tonight, and that Gardiner would be a game-time decision. Dan Girardi was on the ice with the team this morning. The Lightning’s lines at morning skate indicate Callahan will go in for Miller tonight. Both teams’ lineups have been updated.