Shark Club Game Day: Game #64, Maple Leafs at Rangers

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The points are now at a premium with under 20 games to go and the group that has the Leafs sitting fifth in the East has been trusted with closing out the job.

A vote of confidence? Maybe not quite, but there’s certainly a big test ahead for this group down the stretch.

Speaking of which, Peter Holland and Carter Ashton have been recalled while Nikolai Kulemin has been returned to a line with Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri. The Leafs poked the tires on a center but opted to play Peter Holland as their 3C for now while Bolland continues to recover. This is an opportunity for Holland to run with it.

Ashton will skate alongside Troy Bodie and Jay McClement on line four, while Holland will center David Clarkson and Mason Raymond on line three. Those changes give the Leafs’ bottom 3 forward lines a much different look than what we saw on Monday versus Columbus. Hopefully it also results in a secondary scoring presence beyond the Leafs’ top line.

New Rangers acquisition Marty St. Louis is expected to skate on old linemate Brad Richards’ wing in his first game in the Big Apple.

The unknown with a trade such as today’s by NYR and Tampa Bay is what swapping Captains (for the first time since ’95) does to the respective teams. The Rangers look the better team on paper after the trade, beyond a doubt, but St. Louis is a much different player than what’s leaving and there may be a feeling out process trying to find the right fit. Hopefully the adjustment isn’t seamless and takes a few games, for the Leafs’ sake.

The Rangers, like Columbus, have had the Leafs’ number this season. The Leafs scraped a point out of a Christmastime meeting but were soundly outplayed for much of the game. In early January, New York blew the Leafs out of their own building by a score of 7-1.

It’s all about dealing with the forecheck for the Leafs, which they did a good job of in the first period against Columbus before getting snowed under in the 2nd. The prescout on the Leafs is pretty obvious, and it is that a hard forecheck and cycle will get the Leafs D pinned in and scrambling, and from there they sometimes struggle to recover and break out as a team.

Projected Lines:

JvR – Bozak – Kessel
Lupul – Kadri – Kulemin
Raymond – Holland – Clarkson
Ashton – McClement – Bodie

Gunnarsson – Phaneuf
Gardiner – Franson
Gleason – Rielly
Ranger

Bernier

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  • Waiting4LSC

    Same old same old. no shake up, NoNothing. Phil carry us, make us Philtastically proud. You are the crown jewel, the mater cog. GLG

  • Leafs_17

    Waiting4LSC  back to the square peg in the round hole

  • Tim Horton

    Leafs_17 Waiting4LSC  There is no peg, only hole.

  • rustynail

    Waiting4LSC  there is a significant change since last game

  • sharkbabysitter

    i’d like to see ashton get a shot at a higher line. id put him on line 3send clarson to 4 and give him the message he deserves.

  • Leafs_17

    rustynail Waiting4LSC  ?

  • Tim Horton

    Murph2417  quit.

  • Loric76

    Murph2417  retire

  • Leafs_17

    Murph2417  you should have always hated vanek

  • Loric76

    Murph2417  just hate everybody.  Makes things easier.

  • Loric76

    MikeGartner11 Loric76 Murph2417  Freedom 25

  • Loric76

    Leafs_17 rustynail Waiting4LSC  no more worrying about being traded?

  • rustynail

    Loric76 Leafs_17 rustynail Waiting4LSC  significantly different line up IMO

  • Leafs_17

    rustynail Loric76 Leafs_17 Waiting4LSC  lol hadn’t even looked yet

  • Loric76

    rustynail Loric76 Leafs_17 Waiting4LSC  I’m out of the loop.  What’s changed since Monday?

  • Shift_Disturber1

    Let’s Go Leafs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MaxwellHowe

    I really like the expected line-up.  I really, really like it.

  • Loric76

    Murph2417 Loric76  good.  fuck you.

  • Reversethecurse13

    MaxwellHowe  *they lose 6-0

  • Shift_Disturber1

    MikeGartner11 Tim HortonMurph2417  #ShootForTheSeverancePackage

  • BrandonCheema

    Murph2417 MaxwellHowe  now we have to see if carlyle roles the lines

  • MaxwellHowe

    Reversethecurse13 MaxwellHowe of course. Those lines and pairings never seen again.  I know this

  • PEIleafnation

    is vanel really gonna hlp…small skilled forward

  • Reversethecurse13

    MaxwellHowe Reversethecurse13  haha, its guaranteed!

  • PEIleafnation

    vanek

  • MaxwellHowe

    Bruffins that’s the spirit

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/CorporalKomarov https://twitter.com/CorporalKomarov/status/441353382419521536
    soon Vancouver Canucks are unveil new slogan “this were the plan all along.”

  • MaxwellHowe

    Reversethecurse13 MaxwellHowe RC will have it mixed up beyond recognition by the second period

  • rustynail

    Loric76 rustynail Leafs_17 Waiting4LSC  4th line Ashton, Mc, Bodie, 3rd line with Holland, Raymond and Clarkson

  • BrandonCheema

    hate this parady

  • BrandonCheema

    parody *

  • Loric76

    rustynail Loric76 Leafs_17 Waiting4LSC  nice!

  • Rick_Vaives_slapshot

    Tonight is a must win, says captain obvious. I still think there is still some fragility to this team. Losing 4 in a row after the break would mess this team up. MUST WIN!!

  • rustynail

    MaxwellHowe Reversethecurse13  e is not R Willy

  • Loric76

    BrandonCheema  why it’s awesome

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050 https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/441355213660622849
    As expected, Dion Phaneuf back on the ice for pre-game skate. He missed the morning skate for maintenance.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Rick_Vaives_slapshot Rangers are shit.  4-1 Leafs.  2 for Phil.

  • BrandonCheema

    Loric76 BrandonCheema  i just find it annoying lol

  • Rick_Vaives_slapshot

    MaxwellHowe Rick_Vaives_slapshot Hope so. I admit Im getting a bit nervous lately.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Loric76  I could be wrong but didn’t Gillis actually say that after he traded Schneider?

  • Rick_Vaives_slapshot

    Loric76 was obviously traded to Calgary at 2pm, then traded back at 259pm

  • Alec Brownscombe

    https://twitter.com/MapleLeafsHS/status/441355740381712384

  • Loric76

    ingy56 Loric76  yup.  keeping Lou and trading Cory was his plan all along

  • Loric76

    Alec Brownscombe  retweeted

  • MaxwellHowe

    Rick_Vaives_slapshot MaxwellHowe We thought the season was over in early January.  This team is very strange.  But another hot streak is just around the corner

  • Reversethecurse13

    rustynail MaxwellHowe Reversethecurse13  he certainly doesn’t mix up the lines much. Just alienates certain young players (Ashton, Holland, D’Amigo). Also tends to overuse McClement. 
    I do think the 4th line (Ashton – JayMc – Bodie) will provide some very good energy tonight. I’m guessing the 3rd line flops. So it’s up to Kadri’s line to support the Hart line.

  • Loric76

    Marty St. Louis could take lessons from Dion on how to talk to the press

  • Ze_theLeafsFan

    I met someone today and we somehow ended up talking about hockey. He was telling me how much he hated Phaneuf and Kulemin. He said that Dion was garbage and was getting paid too much and mentioned how Kulemin was totally useless and all he did was play in the PK… What an idiot lol.

  • Loric76

    Ze_theLeafsFan  Habs fan?

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050 https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/441356941823311872
    Projected Lines vs. NYR: van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Kessel. Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin. Raymond-Holland-Clarkson. Ashton-McClement-Bodie.