It’s a full lineup of hockey on Friday with plenty of Leafs and Marlies in action.
William Nylander — expected to play on a line with Carl Soderberg and William Karlsson — and Team Sweden will square off against Russia in the first game of the World Championships preliminary round at 10 a.m. EST (TSN1 & TSN4).
Recent signing Miro Aaltonen, who was moved onto Finland’s top line with Valtteri Filppula and Sebastian Aho in the final exhibition game, will play against Belarus at 10 a.m. EST (TSN3 & TSN5).
Mitch Marner — expected to play on a line with Brayden Point and Travis Konecny — and Team Canada will follow against the Czechs at 2 p.m. EST (TSN1, TSN3, TSN4 & TSN5).
The Marlies and Crunch kick off their second round series at 7 p.m. EST in Syracuse.
Marlies vs. Crunch: Calder Cup Second Round Preview & Schedule (MLHS)
The head-to-head during the regular season battle was extremely tight, with Toronto claiming ten points and Syracuse nine. During the eight-game series, six were determined by a single goal, with four of those decided in overtime or shootout. The lone blow-out victory belonged to the Marlies with a 4-0 success at home on March 26.
Grundstrom hops aboard for Marlies’ playoff ride (Toronto Star)
“I think we will (play him),” said Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe, adding it might not be right away. “We want to make sure he’s comfortable and in a good spot. He was off the ice for a period of time, a week or so, and flies out here — all new systems, new teammates, new environment. We want to make sure he’s ready.”
Leafs’ Marner likely to play with Point, Konecny on Team Canada (Toronto Sun)
Marner, one of Toronto’s band of impressive rookies this past season, had enough steam remaining to accept an invite for the national team. Coach Jon Cooper of Tampa Bay is leaning towards using Marner on a line with Bolts’ centre Brayden Point and Philadelphia winger Travis Konecny. Marner, who often made something out of nothing against bigger men on NHL ice, reaching 61 points in 77 games, should find the bigger surface in Europe more liberating.
Is Kailer Yamamoto Too Good For the Leafs to Pass Up? (PPP)
Yamamoto isn’t just a scorer, though. He’s an elite playmaker as well. He ranks 4th among U18 WHL players in primary assists per game, both in all situations, and at 5v5. All this sums up to him having the most primary points and primary points per game in the WHL (again amongst U18 players), both at 5v5 and at all situations. Basically, he’s an offensive dynamo at the WHL level. If you’re looking at offense, his statistical resume is among the very best in his draft class.
Tanner Glass hears cheers, quiets haters for Rangers (Puck Daddy)
Glass played the first three games of the postseason against the Montreal Canadiens, was scratched for the next three in that six-game series win for the Rangers. Glass then rejoined the lineup after the Rangers lost the first two games against the Senators. He has three points in his last two games, and four points overall in five playoff games. This is after scoring two points in his first 60 NHL playoff games.
Plenty of reason for concern after Senators’ Game 4 loss to Rangers (Sportsnet)
Yes, there is plenty of reason for concern in the Senators camp as the series shifts back to Canadian Tire Centre for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon. Erik Karlsson, the heartbeat of this group, missed the third period of Thursday’s game as a precaution while No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson watched from the end of the bench. He was pulled after allowing 12 goals on 98 shots over nine-plus periods – an ugly stat line made possible by the play in front of him.
Golden Knights sign Vadim Shipachyov for two years, $9 million (Puck Daddy)
The 30-year-old Shipachayov is a center who has spent his entire pro career in Russia. In 445 career KHL games he has notched 412 points and this past year with SKA St. Petersburg he had 76 points in 50 games, which ranked third in the league. In the postseason he had 19 points in 17 games helping his team to the Gagarin Cup.
Barry Trotz challenges Capitals stars to be better — but is that fair? (RMNB)
After the game, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz put the hammer down. “I would say our top players didn’t play as well as they need to be,” Trotz said. “They need to be top players and step up right now.” He repeated some variation of that answer multiple times during his press conference just in case you missed the subtlety. “[W]e have to find an extra way to get an extra goal,” said Trotz. “We got to get an extra save.” The Caps bench boss then went on to say his top guys “weren’t as good as they needed to be.”
Don Cherry blasts Nick Bonino for embellishment vs. Capitals (Puck Daddy)
Cherry proceeded to show two icing calls on Bonino when the Capitals had the goalie pulled, and said “that’s how dumb he is.” “He’s a ragdoll. This guy is not a good hockey player, as far as I’m concerned. I’ll tell you what kids: You never act like this guy. You never fake an injury. IT’S NOT THE CANADIAN WAY!” said Cherry.
Sidney Crosby of Penguins skates, day to day with concussion (NHL.com)
Crosby did not play in Game 4 Wednesday, when the Penguins won 3-2 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Sullivan did not elaborate on Crosby’s availability for Game 5 at Verizon Center on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports, SN). “He’s in the process of rehabbing,” Sullivan said. “We’ll leave it at that “It’s a day-to-day process. We’re taking each day as it comes.”