Having defeated Boston, Tampa, and Colorado during their 14-wins-in-16-games run, the Maple Leafs will now look to take down another one of the top 10 teams in the 2021 calendar year in the Minnesota Wild tonight on Hockey Night in Canada (7:00 p.m. EST, CBC/Sportsnet).

The important lineup news for tonight:


Game Day Quotes

Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Everson on the challenge presented by the Leafs:

We are excited about the challenge for sure. They are a good hockey club. We are a good hockey club.

… They have a lot of offensive ability, obviously. We have TVs, too, right? We see the highlights every night. They present challenges, but the NHL is a great league and every team has special players. Certainly, we will have to look after their special players.

Everson on the recent success of the Kaprizov – Hartman – Zuccarello line:

We like Zucy and Kirill’s chemistry, but at this moment, [Hartman] has been really good on that line. We like that offensive production. We like that they didn’t cheat the game [vs. New Jersey], and if they continue to do that, they will continue to have success.

Sheldon Keefe on the Leafs‘ ability to roll along regardless of who is in or out of the lineup:

We do like our depth. Whether it is the seventh defenseman who has played, or whether it is Joey Anderson, Kyle Clifford, or Joe Woll that have come in, they have all come in at times when we have needed help and have done the job. More importantly, the rest of our group that is playing has just picked up the group.

Alex Kerfoot on the threat posed by the Wild:

They’re a really good team up and down the lineup. They have a really deep forward group and as active of a defense as anyone offensively. They are playing good hockey. They’re right at the top of the league. It is a big test for us coming in here.

Justin Holl on defending against Minnesota’s attack:

They get pucks to the net quickly and they bury them. The box outs are going to be really important. The battles around both nets are going to be huge. That was kind of the point of emphasis. They’re fast, skilled, and big.

Keefe on the challenge the Wild present:

Even throughout last season as well, they have really established themselves as a very difficult team to play against. They are very structured and play extremely hard. They are big and strong and hungry around the net.

There are lots of really good traits that are easy to pick out about their team because it is so deliberate and obvious — especially when you look at how they are around the net.  Our ability to protect our net, keep pucks away from there, and keep bodies away from there are really important.

We’re looking to play through pressure. They are a team that plays very hard. The play very well particularly on home ice.  Just like we had to prep for Colorado the other night, we have a lot of respect for the opponent. We will just have to make sure we are prepared.


Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines

Forwards
#58 Michael Bunting – #34 Auston Matthews – #24 Wayne Simmonds
#15 Alex Kerfoot – #91 John Tavares – #88 William Nylander
#47 Pierre Engvall – #64 David Kampf – #25 Ondrej Kase
#20 Nick Ritchie – #19 Jason Spezza – #28 Joey Anderson

Defensemen
#44 Morgan Rielly –  #78 TJ Brodie
#8 Jake Muzzin – #3 Justin Holl
#38 Rasmus Sandin – #23 Travis Dermott

Goaltenders
Starter: #36 Jack Campbell
#30 Michael Hutchinson

Extras: Timothy Liljegren, Kyle Clifford
Injured
: Ilya Mikheyev, Petr Mrazek, Joseph Woll, Mitch Marner


Minnesota Wild Projected Lines

Forwards
#97 Kiril Kaprizov – #38 Ryan Hartman – #36 Mats Zuccarello
#18 Jordan Greenway – #14 Joel Eriksson Ek – #17 Marcus Foligno
#16 Ryan Pitlick – #49 Victor Rask – #22 Kevin Fiala
#21 Brandon Duhaime – #7 Nico Sturm – #27 Nick Bjugstad 

Defensemen
#25 Jonas Brodin – #24 Mathew Dumba
#4 Jon Merrill – #47 Alex Goligoski
#8 Jordie Benn – #29 Dimitry Kulikov

Goaltenders
Starter: #33 Cam Talbot
#34 Kaapo Kahkonen

Injured/Out: Jared Spurgeon, Frederick Gaudreau