The Toronto Maple Leafs will need to respond to a Game 1 beatdown but will have to do it without Nazem Kadri in Game 2 on Saturday night.

Panic has ensued in some corners of Leafs Nation, and while tonight’s clash could change things in a hurry, the Leafs have become the underdogs in this series in many eyes entering into Game 2 tonight.

The suspension debate has been a major talking point for the last 24 hours, but the Leafs are going to have to channel those frustrations into productive energy. The Leafs have their adversity now; their reason to be pissed. Playoffs are all about the responses and adjustments you make. Let’s see what the Leafs are made of.

Keys to the Game

  • With Nazem Kadri’s absence, the Leafs’ matchup line is gone. Patrick Marleau will move to centre next to Zach Hyman, Leo Komarov will join the top line, and Andreas Johnsson will step in on the fourth line. Expect the Leafs to roll their lines early in an attempt to dictate pace of the game. With this lineup, the Leafs are giving themselves the best opportunity they can to get a capable scoring line out against the bottom of the Bruins lineup. Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins will make a couple of changes in that area before Game 2, as rookie Ryan Donato will step in on Noel Acciari’s wing after Wingels was injured on the Kadri hit in Game 1. Donato was a surprise exclusion in Game 1 and is a higher skill option for the Bruins over Schaller or Wingels.
  • The Leafs PP looked dangerous in game 1. Marner is the straw that stirs the drink out there for Toronto, and he was a real threat on that right side half-wall spot in Game 1. Per Babcock, Johnsson will be moving up to Kadri’s spot on the top unit. Johnsson has been effective in the bumper role for the Marlies, showed flashes of promise there in his regular season stints, and the Leafs will hope he can help offset the sizeable void left by Kadri in that area. The special teams battle needs to turn around in a hurry for the Leafs — that starts with better discipline, the PK buckling down, and the Leafs PP bearing down on its chances.
  • For the Leafs, as important as it is for the Matthews line to step up in the marquee matchup vs. the Bergeron line, the Plekanec and Bozak lines will need to be better against the Bruins depth’ lines in those secondary matchups. With Komarov moving up the lineup, Plekanec will have some more skill on his wings in Johnsson and Kapanen — the former of which he complimented last week, saying, “he’s so easy to play with.” Hopefully, it brings the best out of the struggling Plekanec and gives a boost to the Leafs’ fourth line, which had a miserable Game 1 in the possession game, in addition to conceding the 3-1 goal.

Game Day Quotes

Mike Babcock on Kadri’s suspension:

Well, we expected a game out of it, so we started with that yesterday. The adversity you face in the playoffs when you have a long run is always there. There’s not much you can do about it, so let’s just get on it. We went without a number of centres this year. Let’s play.

Babcock on his keys to the game:

With 4:25 left in the 2nd, the game was 1-1. We had just played a real good second period, and then we were shorthanded 11 of the next 24 minutes or something like that. Now let’s be disciplined. You can’t be in the box. Number two, our compete level right trough the lineup — you’ve got to have everybody. Competitiveness on the puck, winning 50-50 battles, races, wall battles, net battles — that’s got to be our priority.

Babcock on adding Andreas Johnsson into the lineup, and how he’s played on the PP:

He’s got good speed, good skill. Ideally, he saw the game the other night and has an idea of what’s going on and how competitive you have to be playoff time to be a good player.

He was skilled, he was tenacious. [the 2nd PP unit], I don’t know if you noticed, as soon as went on, it got better. I just think that his skill set and his hockey IQ leads to him being successful in that area.

Regular Season Stats

Regular Season Record49-26-7 (105pts)50-20-12 (112pts)
Shots Against/g34.828.8
5v5 CF%47.9% 52%
5v5 SV%.911.917
5v5 SH%8.38.9

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

Komarov – Matthews – Nylander
(74-7-12-19) – (62-34-29-63) – (82-20-41-61) | Total Goals: 61
Hyman – Marleau – Marner
  (82-15-25-40) – (82-27-20-47) – (82-22-47-69) | Total Goals: 64
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Brown
  (82-36-18-54) – (81-11-32-43) – (82-14-14-28) | Total Goals: 61
Johnsson – Plekanec – Kapanen
 (9-2-1-3) – (77-6-20-26) – (37-7-2-9)  | Total Goals: 15

Rielly – Hainsey
 (74-6-46-52) – (80-4-19-23) | Total Goals: 10
Gardiner – Zaitsev
 (82-5-47-52) – (60-5-8-13) | Total Goals: 10
Dermott – Polak
(37-1-12-13) – (54-2-10-12) | Total Goals: 3

Andersen (.918 sv%)
McElhinney (.934 sv%)

Extras: Moore (50-6-6-12), Leivo (16-1-3-4), Martin (50-3-9-12), Carrick (47-4-8-12)

Suspended: Kadri (80-32-23-55)

Boston Bruins Projected Lineup

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
(68-34-51-85) – (64-30-33-63) – (82-35-45-80) | Total Goals: 102
Debrusk – Krejci – Rick Nash
  (70-16-27-43) – (64-17-27-44) – (71-21-13-34) | Total Goals: 53
Donato – Acciari – Backes
(12-5-4-9) – (60-10-1-11) – (57-14-19-33)  | Total Goals: 29
Schaller – Kuraly – Heinen
(82-12-10-22) – (75-6-8-14) – (77-16-31-47)  | Total Goals: 34

Extras: Gionta (20-2-5-7), Wingels (18-2-3-5)

Chara – McAvoy
 (73-7-17-24) – (63-7-25-32) | Total Goals: 14
Krug – Miller
 (76-14-45-59) – (68-1-15-16) | Total Goals: 15
Grzelcyk – McQuaid
(61-3-12-15) – (38-1-3-4) | Total Goals: 4

Rask (.917 sv%)
Khudobin (.913 sv%)

Injuries: Brandon Carlo, Riley Nash