LGP 37: Hunt and Malgin Face Former Teams

Nylander #88 scores OT goal Photo: Maple Leafs Twitter

After yet another loss to the Coyotes, the Leafs are looking to rebound against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. Similarly to the Leafs, the Avalanche have lost many players due to injury, and even with the return of Mackinnon tonight, they still are down two of their top 6 players in Landeskog and Nichushkin. The game tonight is important for both sides, but if the Leafs want to prove they can compete every night, then I would expect a solid effort tonight, especially with the injuries the Avalanche have. It’s also important that this is the first game the Leafs and Avalanche are playing since swapping forwards Malgin and Hunt just over a week ago. Tonight is an opportunity for both players to try and get revenge on their former teams, whether in the form of goals, assists, hits, or even fights.

Leafs Projected Lineup

Although lines have yet to be confirmed, they are likely to remain similar to the last game, with maybe one or two small swaps. Due to no morning skate, we don’t have a confirmed lineup yet, but this is what’s majorly expected. The other expectation is that Samsonov will get the start, as they will likely alternate until one earns more starts.




Avalanche Projected Lineup


Lehkonen – Mackinnon – Rantanen

Newhook – Rodrigues – Malgin

Cogliano – Compher – O’Connor

MacDermid – Meyers – MacDonald


Toews – Makar

Girard – Johnson

Englund – Hunt




Three Things to Look Out For

1. Rielly

I rarely write about the same player two games in a row, but Rielly is receiving a lot of hate after a poor first game back from injury, which included a poor pass (the pass from Liljegren to him was also poor) that led to the game-winning goal. As I’m sure not many people deny, Rielly adds to the offensive strength of this team, regardless of the defensive mistakes he can make. The pairing with Liljegren makes sense, but I hope to see him with Brodie again soon. Give Rielly another chance as he tries to catch up to speed and adds to the group, not just on the ice.

2. Core Four Forwards

The core four forwards have rarely been kept off the scoresheet, but somehow the Coyotes were able to keep them off. All four forwards add to the team regardless of whether they are scoring, but it’s hard to win games when none are scoring. As they play a tough game tonight, I’d expect more offensive output both on the powerplay and at five on five both tonight and moving forward. Keep an eye on them as Matthews looks to start heating up, while Nylander and Marner continue their impressive seasons, and Tavares proves to be an effective player in the league still.

3. Järnkrok

Järnkrok has been on fire lately, netting three goals and six points in the four games he has played since coming off an injury. He is looking like an important part of this team and will look to continue his good play tonight. While his offensive output has been impressive, his willingness to take tough battles and not give up on a puck has helped to make him effective. He is looking like quite a fine addition that continues to keep getting better.

Tonight is the Leafs last game of the calendar year, and it can be watched on Sportsnet at 7:00 pm EST!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @nathan_bondy.

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