The three day break has given us much time to digest the events of Wednesday night. The Leafs can draw inspiration from the inexperienced Islanders last night with the way that team was blown out in game 1, looked to be in the process of getting blown out early in game 2, fought back, and now find themselves on equal footing in a best of five series against the heavily favoured Penguins. All we can do is hope the Leafs make the necessary adjustments and find something more within themselves tonight in Boston.
Speaking of adjustments, Paul Hendrick reports Jake Gardiner is “expected” to play tonight (not confirmed), a move that would see the Leafs add some mobility and puck moving ability on the back end in an effort to shore up the breakout and zone entry issues from Game 1. Lineup after the jump.
JvR – Bozak – Kessel
Lupul – Kadri – Kulemin
McClement – Grabovski – Frattin
Hamilton – McClement – Orr
Gunnarsson – Phaneuf
Fraser – Franson
Gardiner – O’Byrne
Quite simply, very few Leafs played better than below average on Saturday. Individually each must be better, and at the team level hopefully Carlyle has seen how the Bruins are gameplanning the Leafs and tweaks a few things accordingly. It’s not like the Bruins will change anything about the way they played the Leafs. Outside of trapping them a little more Wednesday, it was the same formula Boston used in their last dozen predominantly successful games vs. the Leafs. This Leafs team should better know what to expect in a playoff environment and hopefully it shows.
Go Leafs Go. Surprise us all.