With Matt Murray not quite ready to return, Erik Källgren will remain in net for the back half of the back-to-back as the Maple Leafs look for a bounce-back effort against the struggling Vancouver Canucks on HNIC (7 p.m. EST, Sportsnet).
It will be an emotionally-charged atmosphere in the building tonight as the Maple Leafs will hold a dedicated ceremony for Börje prior to puck drop.
Hopefully, the Leafs can channel the energy into a better start than in last night’s game. The Canucks are allowing over four goals per game at the moment, while the Maple Leafs have scored four or more just twice in 15 games to date, including just 2.12 per game at even strength, which ranks 28th in the NHL entering tonight.
It’s as good of a time as any for the offense to wake up.
Game Day Quotes
Bruce Boudreau on the Leafs‘ play so far this season:
They probably don’t have the record they’d want, but you watch the guys who go on the ice and the ease with which they make great plays. Whether fortunate or unfortunate, I watch all of their games, and they are just good. You have to be aware.
When it all starts turning for them, they’ll put a stretch together that is going to be really good. I just don’t want it to start tonight.
Boudreau on the honouring of Börje Salming:
It was fabulous watching it. I was watching him on TV. Lots of memories when you see Börje up there. Such a well-deserved ovation for him. You could see Darryl crying a little bit. All of that was pretty special. It brings you back to the 70s and brings you back to the time that they — Lanny was up there, too — were the three best players the Leafs had. I was really glad for a while to be a part of that.
Boudreau on his memories of playing with Salming and what made him so special:
The fact that he could play 28 or 30 minutes a night and do the next thing the next night. He was in unbelievable condition as an athlete.
The one thing about Börje that you don’t see too much now: he would block every shot that came his way. He would make perfect passes right on the tape — very Nik Lidstrom-like all the time. When he wanted to go, he could go.
There was one game in particular where I was fortunate enough to get a hat trick. He had five assists that night and on every one of my goals. That was him. He was an incredible player. It is hard to describe in today’s world what he would be like or to compare him to somebody today.
He would be in a class by himself in today’s game.
Boudreau on what Ilya Mikheyev has brought to the team:
He has added a speed dimension that we don’t have. He is chipping in goals. He is well on his way to a 25-goal season and more points than he has had in the past. He does a lot of good things for us. Because he missed a lot of training camp, he is just starting to get better.
Sheldon Keefe on the decision to start Erik Källgren two nights in a row:
Mainly, it is just that he has played well. I think he has earned it. A back-to-back is far from ideal. Normally, it is when you would make a goalie change, but the fact that there is no travel in this one is a little bit different. Really, it’s just that we think Källgren has done a good job for us and deserves a chance to go back at it again.
Keefe on the decision to go back to Kallgren even with the tough goal against on the game-winning goal last night:
I thought he had a great game for us. It is another reason why we are putting him back in. I think he is playing really well. I think he is playing as well as he has going back to last season.
Numbers are what they are, but just watching him as a goalie, how he moves, how he reacts, and how he deals with different situations, to me, he is gaining more confidence. He looks even stronger in the net.
No hesitation to put him back. I didn’t think twice about that goal. I am glad he is taking ownership of it. That is what you want. You want players to take ownership of their moment and their opportunity to make an impact on the game. You want that, but let’s push past it. There is no reason to beat yourself up over that.
Keefe on whether he misses the elements Ilya Mikheyev brings to the lineup:
He is a good player. He brings a lot. He had a big season for us in the regular season last year and produced at a higher rate than he had previously. We felt he had more to give there. He was given an opportunity, and he did well with it.
He did so well that he has done well for himself. We wish him all the best in Vancouver except for tonight.
Keefe on the organization honouring Börje Salming tonight and what it means to the players and coaches:
It is great that the organization is doing that. It is great that he has been able to come here and take part in the Hall of Fame festivities and have his moment as well.
I just know how it makes me feel. I am not a player, but just as a part of the organization, when you see the reaction of the fans and you see the reaction of our players, you really feel part of the family. You feel part of the legacy. You feel how important it is and how impactful players can be in our city.
Börje is obviously a legend with the Maple Leafs. It is one thing to see the name on Legends Row, but to see the person here and to see the reaction at this stage of life… It is a different era of Leafs fans and all of these things, but it is all there.
It is not just the ability to honour Börje Salming but for the players to feel what they are doing here. It is all part of their own legacy. You want to be someone that is remembered like that.
Timothy Liljegren on his confidence in Erik Källgren between the pipes:
Kally is playing great for us. I don’t think he should be blamed for yesterday’s loss. He saves a lot of high-end chances. He’ll bounce back.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
#58 Michael Bunting – #34 Auston Matthews – #88 William Nylander
#15 Alex Kerfoot – #91 John Tavares – #16 Mitch Marner
#89 Nick Robertson – #47 Pierre Engvall – #19 Calle Järnkrok
#12 Zach Aston-Reese – #64 David Kämpf – #62 Denis Malgin
#44 Morgan Rielly – #18 Jordie Benn
#55 Mark Giordano – #3 Justin Holl
#38 Rasmus Sandin – #37 Timothy Liljegren
Starter: #50 Erik Källgren
#80 Keith Petruzzelli
Extras: Wayne Simmonds
Injured: TJ Brodie, Kyle Clifford, Jake Muzzin, Matt Murray, Ilya Samsonov
Vancouver Canucks Projected Lines
#65 Ilya Mikheyev – #9 JT Miller – #6 Brock Boeser
#96 Andrei Kuzmenko – #40 Elias Pettersson – #21 Nilas Hoglander
#92 Vasily Podkolzin – #53 Bo Horvat – #8 Conor Garland
#81 Dakota Joshua – #88 Nils Aman – #18 Jack Studnicka
#43 Quinn Hughes – #57 Tyler Myers
#23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson – #74 Ethan Bear
#61 Riley Stillman – #7 Luke Schenn
Starter: #30 Spencer Martin
#35 Thatcher Demko
Injured: Travis Dermott, Tucker Poolman, Curtis Lazar, Tanner Pearson, Phil Di Giuseppe