Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – Game #80 Preview & Projected Lines

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TAMPA, FL - MARCH 16: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a save against Braydon Coburn #55 of the Tampa Bay Lightning as James van Riemsdyk #25 defends during the first period at the Amalie Arena on March 16, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Toronto Maple Leafs (39-25-15, t-13th in NHL) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (39-30-10, 18th in NHL)

Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST
Arena: Air Canada Center
Watch: TSN4


Game Day Quotes

Head coach Jon Cooper on the Lightning’s perseverance despite injuries:

It’s next guy up. Hopefully we’ll get Dumont back here, and congratulations to him for having a healthy baby boy. We definitely need him back, especially in the faceoff circle, where we had a tough night the other night. Concher’s had a history of putting pucks in the net, and Bournival has been really effective for us when he’s played. If they check back in, we’re expecting a lot of the same. It’s kind of been the story for the past two and a half months. Every time their backs have been pushed against the wall, they have found a way. Tonight we’re clearly up against the wall. I don’t know what the result is going to be, but we’ll get one hell of an effort from our guys.

Ultimately, your best players have to be your best players. You go down the list, from Kucherov to Palat to Hedman to Stralman to Vasilevsky. They’ve been our best players, but you need a supporting cast. The supporting cast has come in and not let the guys down. When they’re winning faceoffs for you and when they’re blocking shots, it almost elevates the play of your go-to guys. It’s kind of been a bit of a perfect marriage. It’s why we’ve had success.

Cooper on Tyler Johnson’s status for the game:

I guess we’ll see. It’s a game-time decision. You give Johnson a lot of credit. He’s been trying to game it out, but the Boston game… he ran into a couple of tough situations. We need him feeling better than he was in the Boston game or he won’t be able to go. I know he’s fighting. We’ll see what happens later this afternoon.

Cooper on the possibility of having to pull his goalie in overtime depending on the result of the Bruins vs. Senators game:

Yes, I’m aware. You know what that means? Just win in regulation. You don’t have to do anything crazy.

Steven Stamkos on his team’s run in his absence:

I think we surprised a lot of people with what went on with the deadline and leading up to the deadline, and what happened there. The guys have come up and played outstanding hockey. No one gave up in that room. It was a long shot, but no one had that mindset. We came in, we went on that stretch to put ourselves in the position where, technically, we’re still alive here. We win tonight, we put some pressure on some other teams to win out closing the year or get a point. That’s the focus tonight: to get that win and stay alive. That’s been the mentality since day one.

Stamkos on seeing Brian Boyle in a Leafs jersey:

It’ll be a little weird. He was great for our team and such an important piece to our runs. Great guy, can’t say enough good things about him. We obviously miss him, miss his presence in the room. That’s the nature of the business. It was tough.

Brayden Point on Boyle:

He’s a great guy. He had a lot of tips for me in my first year. He’s just such a good guy that it was tough to see him go. Obviously, he’s having success here in Toronto, which is nice to see. He’s a big, strong guy. He’s responsible. He plays hard.

Alex Killorn on the challenge presented by the Leafs:

They have a tonne of skill. You want to keep them off the power play. You want to take away their skill and play defense.

It’ll be a playoff atmosphere. Boston’s game was pretty tight-checking. They outcompeted us in certain areas and that’s what we’re going to have to be better at tonight. We can’t get outcompeted by this team.

Mike Babcock on the challenge the Lightning present:

A good veteran team. They know how to play. They always play hard. They’re a proud group. They’ve been in the playoffs. They expect to be real good. It’s like anybody at this time of year that has a chance. You can smell it, sniff it. You want to be in. They’re going to dig in. It’ll be a good game tonight.

Brian Boyle on whether the Leafs have the “killer instinct” to close out the playoff chase:

I think that’s just overblown. Killer instinct, come on. It’s a great opportunity. We should be really excited about this. I think it’s been six months of work for these guys. Me coming in here, I’ve been working — whether it be with this team or not – for the same thing all year long, too, and trying to get better as a player. It’s a long-term goal. It takes a lot of work, a lot of hard nights sometimes, and a few disappointments. When you get to this opportunity, you’ve done so many good things, you better believe in yourself. I think we do.


Playoff Outcomes

Courtesy of /u/danger____zone, a handy chart breaking down all of the possible outcomes for tonight’s games:


Matchup Stats

Statistics courtesy of SportingCharts.com

StatTBTor
Season Series1-1-12-1-0
Points8893
Record %0.5570.589
Home Winning %0.5680.618
Away Winning %0.50.55
Shootout Winning %0.5710.111
Goal Differential Per Game-0.010.23
Shot Differential Per Game-0.57-0.82
Hits Per Game22.223.8
PIM Per Game10.89.7
Opponent PIM Per Game11.510.1
Goals Per Game2.763.06
Even Strength Goals Per Game1.952.27
Power Play Goals Per Game0.770.72
Shots Per Game29.932
Shots Per Goal10.810.4
Team Shooting %0.0920.096
Power Play %0.230.244
Goals Against Per Game2.772.84
ES Goals Against Per Game2.082.23
PP Goals Against Per Game0.610.53
Shots Against Per Game30.4832.82
Shots Against Per Goal1111.58
Opp. Team Shooting %0.0910.086
Penalty Kill %0.8080.829
Save %0.9090.914
Goals Against Average2.732.79
Shutouts35
Opponent Save %0.9080.904
Opponent Goals Against Average2.723.02
Opponent Shutouts62

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines

Forwards

Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Connor Brown
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner
Matt Martin – Brian Boyle – Kasperi Kapanen

Defencemen

Jake Gardiner – Nikita Zaitsev
Morgan Rielly – Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak

Goaltenders

Starter: Frederik Andersen (33-15-14, 2.65, 0.919)
Backup: Curtis McElhinney

Injured: Eric Fehr, Nikita Soshnikov, Josh Leivo
Scratched: Martin Marincin, Ben Smith, Alexey Marchenko


Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Forwards

Ondrej Palat – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Adam Erne – Vladislav Namestnikov – Michael Bournival
Alex Killorn – Cory Conacher – Yanni Gourde
Greg McKegg – Jonathan Drouin – Joel Vermin

Defencemen

Victor Hedman – Jake Dotchin
Anton Stralman – Luke Witkowski
Braydon Coburn – Andrej Sustr

Goaltenders

Starter: Andrei Vasilevskiy (20-17-7, 2.67, 0.915)
Backup: Peter Budaj

Scratched: Gabriel Dumont
Injured: Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Jason Garrison, Cedric Paquette, J.T. Brown, Ryan Callahan 


Who’s Hot

  • James van Riemsdyk: four points (three goals, one assist) during four-game point streak
  • Mitch Marner: four points (two goals, two assists) during four-game point streak
  • Auston Matthews: 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in last 10 games
  • William Nylander: 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in last 16 games
  • Nazem Kadri: nine points (three goals, six assists) in last nine games
  • Jonathan Drouin: 10 points (four goals, six assists) in last nine games
  • Nikita Kucherov: 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in last eight games
  • Ondrej Palat: 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in last nine games

Morning Skate: Babcock, Brown, Boyle, Hunwick