LGP 53: Back to Business

Leafs salute fans after a win Photo: Maple Leafs Twitter

The Leafs are back after over a week off from the All-Star weekend and their bye week. The Leafs will look to build momentum with a back-to-back series against the not-so-great Blue Jackets. The Leafs, for the most part, have performed well against the higher competition in the league but haven’t done near as well against the league’s bottom feeders. It will be important for the team to start picking up more points from non-playoff teams if they want to secure home-ice advantage in the playoffs or maybe even miraculously catch up to Boston. Samsonov will get the start tonight as the Leafs look to keep up their solid season.

Leafs Projected Lineup

Blue Jackets Projected Lineup

Forwards

Gaudreau – Jenner – Laine

Marchenko – Sillinger – Johnson

Foudy – Roslovic – Bemstrom

Robinson – Kuraly – Olivier

Defense

Gavrikov – Peeke

Berni – Gudbranson

Bayreuther – Boqvist

Goalies

Korpisalo

Merzlikins

Three Things to Look Out For

Steeves

Steeves finds himself suiting up for his first NHL game of the season after some solid play with the Leafs. Steeves has been an interesting prospect and has caught the eye of many for good reason. With the Marlies this season, he has 38 points in 44 games and has been a large part of their success. It seemed like it was a matter of time before Steeves got his chance, and with the Leafs wanting to find out what they have in their depth with Matthews out, Steeves got the call. He will be playing on the fourth line but look for him to play a solid game and try and earn another game.

Anderson

Anderson has been great to watch this season, as he shows that he should probably be in the NHL. He’s trying to win a full-time spot and recently received some praise from upper management. Anderson looks like he’s just starting to get into a groove with the team and has helped the third line to become more effective. There are a lot of Marlies looking to win spots with the Leafs leading up to the playoffs, so it’s up to Anderson to continue to improve his game and develop further. Anderson is an RFA at the end of the year, and I’m sure is looking to have a solid rest of the season in hopes of a full-time roster spot next year as well as a raise.

Järnkrok

Järnkrok remains on the second line, with Matthews and Robertson both injured. Many believed Robertson would eventually win the second-line winger position, but due to a season-ending injury, the spot became open again for a short period before Järnkrok claimed it. We still have yet to see what the roster looks like past the deadline, but as he has provided some scoring, it has given Dubas flexibility. Ideally, the hope is that Järnkrok gives Dubas options to either have him on the second line and add more secondary scoring or acquire an upgrade on the second-line wing position and have Järnkrok start providing secondary scoring. Either way, I’m sure he’s someone the General Manager is keeping an eye on.

The game begins tonight at 7:00 pm EST and can be watched on TSN.

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

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