Another game and another loss for the Maple Leafs, who haven’t looked nearly as dominant as they have in previous seasons. The Leafs still have a decent record and currently sit in a playoff position, but the inconsistencies with this Leafs team have cost them many points. Whether it be the defense, or Marner and Matthews not clicking, or even some goaltending woes, the Leafs haven’t looked nearly as good as a cup contender should look. With that said, it is still relatively early in the season, and it’s way too early to write off a team with this much skill. The Leafs will look to turn things around tonight as they face off against the Panthers.
Leafs Projected Lineup
Three Things to Look Out For
Matthews has recorded three hat-tricks this season, but aside from that, his offensive production hasn’t been anything to write home about. Matthews has looked very good defensively and has had his share of chances, but the bounces haven’t gone his way. Matthews is coming into this season healthy, unlike many other seasons, so it’s important for him to be a big contributor with the Leafs this season. Look for him to show some dominance tonight and play a well-rounded two-way game.
After another relatively mediocre game from Marner, Keefe has elected to split Matthews and Marner up. Marner is still an elite winger but will benefit from some playing time with Tavares. It seems often that when Marner and Matthews play more time together, the focus becomes on feeding the puck to Matthews, which is much easier to read. Whether this change of Marner and Nylander ends up being long-term or not, playing with Tavares will help Marner to shoot more. Keep an eye on Marner tonight as he looks to show that superstar offense we all know he can create.
Nylander has been the talk of the team, especially during the team’s trip to Sweden. Nylander is in his contract year and has been the Leafs best player so far this season. Nylander now finds himself on Matthews’ line as the Leafs hope to spark Matthews’ and Marner’s production by giving them new line combinations. Nylander has often looked great with Matthews, and we will likely see the same again tonight as the Leafs look to play a consistent game for the full 60 minutes tonight, hoping to come out of it with a win.
Today’s game starts at 7 p.m. EST on TSN!
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