LGP 57: Battle Against the Blackhawks

O'Reilly ahead of his first game with the Leafs Photo: Maple Leafs Twitter

It’s O’Reilly and Acciari’s second game with the Leafs, and at this point, they are probably riding on adrenaline. The Leafs had a great showing last night and were able to net a win against the Canadiens. After playing Chicago earlier in the week, the Leafs are back against them, but this time with less of a focus on what Kane could potentially bring the Leafs as they likely aren’t interested anymore. Tonight is another important game for the Leafs to win to start to take over the lead in points over Tampa.

Leafs Projected Lineup

The lineup for tonight hasn’t been confirmed, so here are the lines from last night. Samsonov did travel with the team, so he is projected to start tonight.

Forwards

Bunting – Matthews – Nylander

Tavares – O’Reilly – Marner

Engvall – Kämpf – Järnkrok

Aston-Reese – Acciari – Kerfoot

Defense

Rielly – Brodie

Giordano – Liljegren

Timmins – Holl

Goalies

Samsonov

Woll

Blackhawks Projected Lineup

Forwards

Kurashev – Domi – Kane

Johnson- Guttman – Raddysh

Dickinson – Lafferty – Athanasiou

Katchouk – Johnson – Blackwell

Defense

McCabe – Jones

Johnson – Murphy

Jones – Mitchell

Goalies

Mrazek

Stauber

Three Things to Look Out For

Tavares

Keefe has talked to Tavares multiple times about switching to the wing, but due to depth down the middle, that hasn’t happened until now. With O’Reilly in the mix, Keefe has been able to experiment with Tavares on the wing. The line looked good last night, and O’Reilly won 12 out of 14 draws. I’m interested to see how long Tavares lasts on the wing and the impact he can make. Tavares is great on the faceoff circle though, so we will have to wait and see if this stacked second line sticks or if the two centers get split to separate lines.

Timmins

Timmins is back in the lineup after one game out. While he was able to net a goal, Keefe wasn’t impressed by the two penalties he took. Keep an eye on Timmins tonight as he looks to keep up his offensive success while being defensively responsible in hopes of staying in the lineup. We’re at a key point in the season where Dubas is watching to see what he needs to do to help his team in the playoffs, and I’m sure Timmins wants to prove his worth.

Engvall

Engvall has been solid this season despite the frustration some may have about him not using his size fully to his advantage. When he’s on the ice, the Leafs have more expected goals for than against, and his offensive numbers have started to pick up. He’s now on pace for 18 goals, and that includes a poor first few games of the season. Keep an eye on Engvall as he looks to be a key depth piece for the team down the stretch.

Samsonov takes the goal tonight as the Leafs take on the Blackhawks at 6:00 pm EST on Sportsnet.

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

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