After an embarrassing game 1, the Leafs will look to rebound, once again on home ice, as they try to even the series at one against Tampa. Regardless of opinions on officiating, the Leafs didn’t look like a good team on Tuesday and didn’t deserve to win. With the poor start and play, as well as some soft goals and a poor choice hit from Bunting, it’s safe to say the game didn’t go according to plan. The Leafs will need a better effort tonight if they want a chance in this series. With more Tampa injuries, the Leafs need to capitalize on having a mostly full lineup.
Leafs Projected Lineup
Lightning Projected Lineup
Stamkos – Point – Kucherov
Hagel – Cirelli – Killorn
Jeannot – Paul – Colton
Maroon – Bellemare – Perry
Hedman (GTD) – Perbix
Sergachev – Raddysh
Cole – Bogosian
Three Things to Look Out For
With Bunting suspended for 3 games, Matthew Knies will draw into the lineup tonight. Knies has given the coaching staff some confidence since joining the team and has looked solid in his first 3 games. Tonight marks his first NHL playoff game, and while some may dunk on his lack of playoff experience, you have to play in the playoffs to gain playoff experience… Keep an eye on Knies tonight as he looks to be hard on puck battles and not give up the puck to try and help push the Leafs forwards tonight.
Through much of this season, Giordano has been a warrior and one of the members who kept things together when the back end all seemed to be injured. With that said, it’s resulted in him looking a bit slower lately and making some mistakes he wouldn’t normally make. Giordano has the skill and mindset to improve off of the last game, and he’s a key part of the team, so look for him to rebound tonight in a stronger effort.
Again due to Bunting’s suspension, Järnkrok will be given an increased opportunity. He has looked great when playing in the top-six, especially alongside Matthews, and maybe should have started game one beside Matthews. Regardless of what lines could have been, tonight we will see him on the top line as he hopes to continue the momentum he built that led to his first 20-goal season. Keep an eye on Järnkrok as his shot can be deceptive and adds another shooting risk to the top line.
Tonight’s game starts at 7:00 PM EST on Sportsnet!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @nathan_bondy.