Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Game Day

Game Day

Maple Leafs Hot Stove provides the most comprehensive game day coverage of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Starting lineups, stats and comments get you ready for that night's game.


There is talk Jonathan Bernier will start tonight, which doesn’t make any sense. It would be five starts out of six for Bernier and in a back to back to boot - note: Bernier was also officially credited with the St. Louis loss - meaning Bernier would be the first of the two to get an extended run of starts for no reason related to actual performance. Bernier has been below .900 in 7 of his last 10 games. Reimer won his last full game in a shootout after facing 50 shots against Ottawa. SItting him out in a back to...


A great win over the League champs can quickly be forgotten if the Leafs don't take it as a turnaround point amid a poor December. They're now through  the toughest part of their schedule and have to get back to accumulating points with 15 of their next 16 games against Eastern opponents. The top 4 of this Penguins team's defence has been decimated (i.e. entirely eliminated) by injuries (Martin, Letang, Orpik, Scuderi), and their fifth D, Derek Engelland, is waiting to be suspended. James Neal is suspended, as well. Evgeni Malkin is out after crashing into the boards leg first...


The Leafs have recalled Troy Bodie to play in wake of the David Clarkson two-game suspension. Whatever. One liner of the day goes to Lescott: "Doesn't matter anyway, forechecking the Hawks is like a cat chasing a laser pointer." Here we go. Jonathan Bernier starts for the Leafs. Morgan Rielly is expected to play.


Same lineup for the Leafs except with James Reimer in net. Herculean effort required in a back to back. GO LEAFS GO. Greg Cronin earlier today:


Who was that team in Blue and White last night? A team in Leafs jerseys was getting out of its end efficiently. Moving up the ice together as a unit. Using fast legs to forecheck and sustain a cycle. What explains the Leafs, a poor possession team and brutally outshot for much of the season, suddenly outpossessing and handily outshooting one of the best possession teams in the NHL? The NHL betting wasn't in their favour. Check out the NHL shot chart, especially in the prime scoring area: It could partially be the team getting a kick in the ass and playing desperate...


Deep breaths, everyone.  No Dion Phaneuf and the 20-7-4 Los Angeles Kings are coming into town. The Kings are a heavy forechecking team and are going to seal the boards on the Leafs all night. The key to beating a good forecheck is going to be quick puck movement,  effective use of the D to D pass, and available forward support on the breakout. Without that, this Kings team will hem the Leafs in with sustained zone time, bring fresh legs into the cycle, and grind them down all night. Blowout win over the Canadiens last night aside, the Kings...


The opposite of the typical Leaf game from earlier in the season. A decent even-strength performance by the Leafs, but the game was lost on special teams and an uncharacteristic bad goal on the Leaf netminder. The Leafs again played the Bruins pretty even, but can't find a way to beat this team. 1 - An excellent opening period of hockey from the Leafs. Toronto came out with a better energy level in the back to back situation than the Bruins, and outworked them for much of the period. 2 - Jake Gardiner continues to make good things happen, jumping up...


The Leafs look to build on a two-game winning streak against a familiar adversary tonight at the ACC. The Bruins enter the game after an emotional, controversial win over the Pittsburgh in which Shawn Thornton pretty much committed assault on Brooks Orpik. Loui Eriksson won’t play due to the after effects of a perfectly clean hit he sustained from Brooks Orpik which led to the aforementioned altercation. The Bruins are also without Chris Kelly, Adam McQuaid, and Johnny Boychuk. Randy Carlyle probably won’t change much coming off a shootout win last night in Ottawa, although an infusion of fresh legs, be it...


The Leafs return to Ottawa for the first time since April 20, 2013, the night of a 4-1 Leafs win that clinched their playoff berth for the first time in 9 years. Good times. And remember this angry drunk Sens fan from the Leafs' 4-0 win over the Senators a few weeks earlier? That was also the night Cherry laid the kiss on Nazem Kadri on Coaches Corner after the game. Good recent memories in this rink. I usually get out to one Leafs/Sens game in Ottawa a year because it's my favourite regular season matchup. The 50/50 split in the crowd...

Leafs vs Stars


The Leafs look to pick up their first win in five games tonight against the Dallas Stars. The Stars are 10th in the west with a 13-9-4 record, but some of below-average teams in the West would probably be good teams in the East. I caught parts of a couple of Stars games this season and this is a fast team. Jerry D’Amigo received his first ever call up after four seasons with the Marlies and is expected to play on the Leafs’ 4th line tonight. It seems Colton Orr is injured, and there is no word yet as to whether...


The Sharks enter this game 18-3-5, and are 9-1-2 against fellow Pacific Division opponents, which is easily the strongest division in the NHL. They enter winners of five straight. This is a dominant team with a deeeeep lineup. How can the Leafs beat them? Well, it begins and ends between the pipes with James Reimer, one would think. The Leafs are shorthanded and are the inferior team, so the answer to closing the gap is cliched - 'outwork them.' Playing without the puck a lot, which is almost ensured, means ramping up the physical play will be necessary to try to...


A struggling Leafs team running into a 18-3-4 opponent can go one of two ways - the bloody Jaws-like scene we’re picturing, or the Leafs sensing the urgency of a fin in the water, rising to the level of competition, and icing a respectable showing. The Sharks are obviously on another level personnel wise; they tick all the boxes required in an elite team with amazing center depth in particular (Thornton, Couture, Pavelski, Marleau in a pinch). It’s a mystery as to why the Sharks organization doesn’t have at least one Cup to show for itself given its regular season...

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens


There’s no such thing as a “must-win” in November, but boy do the Leafs need a win tonight. Through 26 games this season, the Leafs and Habs have an identical 14-9-3 record but Montreal is 6-2-2 in their last 10 while Toronto 3-4-3. Both teams lost after regulation last night (Montreal lost to Washington 3-2 in a shootout), so there’s no “tired” excuse for either club tonight. And Montreal was in Washington, meaning they had to travel as well. The month of November hasn’t been kind to the Leafs as they are 4-5-3, but they can at least break 500...


GO LEAFS GO. Projected Lines vs. BUF: JVR-Bozak-Kessel. Raymond-Kadri-Clarkson. McClement-Smith-Kulemin. Ashton-Smithson-Orr.— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) November 30, 2013 Projected defence: Gunnarsson-Phaneuf. Fraser-Franson. Gardiner-Ranger. Goaltender: Reimer.— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) November 30, 2013


In the first two weeks of December, which is now two days away, the Leafs will face San Jose, St. Louis, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Pittsburgh. First, they will play a back to back against Buffalo and Montreal to close out November. Seems like they should probably pick up a few points starting tonight. The Leafs are 4-5-2 in the month of November and will have to sweep this back to back to come out with a winning record in a relatively easy month, one that features three games with tonight’s last-placed opponent. Guess when the Sabres last won...


Come on Leafs. Time for a redeeming effort. Maple Leaf Hangout Ep.#18


All those cliches about needing to respond to an embarrassing loss with a big character effort will apply to tonight’s meeting against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Leafs have played well against the Penguins since the start of last season, going 2-1-1 while scoring 14 goals across the four outings. The Leafs and Penguins play a similar game, and in the past that has suited the Leaf offense just fine. The Penguins will trade chances as a skilled team with speed, and the Leafs have found it less difficult to find space and generate speed through the neutral zone against Pittsburgh than...


GO LEAFS GO. Pregame Hangout Show:



Matthew Wagner (@bzarcher) of The Cannon joins Michael and Michael to tee up tonight's Leafs/Blue Jackets matchup. Click play and it will go live automatically at 6 p.m.

David Clarkson


Tyler Bozak is expected to return to the top line between James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel tonight as the Leafs close out a five-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets. As much as Dave Bolland was off to a great start for the Leafs in an expanded role, he has to be an afterthought for the team given the length of his recovery time. This is as healthy as the Leafs are going to get for a long time, so let’s hope to start seeing them play some of their best hockey. Last meeting: The last time out against the...