Game 5 Preview: Leafs @ Predators

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013-14 season is just getting started, but already there seems to be a sense of urgency in Leafs camp to get the ship righted. The Leafs’ record of 3-1 may not look bad on the surface, but they’re coming off a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night and have had trouble dealing with injuries and suspensions. Joffrey Lupul is the latest casualty after suffering a bruised calf from a collision in Tuesday’s game. However, Lupul was on the ice for the optional skate this morning, so expect him to play tonight.

The Predators ended a streak of their own on Tuesday by registering their first win of the season, 3-2 over the Minnesota Wild. Scoring has been an issue for the Predators again this year, and the usually solid Pekka Rinne is off to a bit of a slow start with only a .907 save percentage in three games. Tonight’s game will be Leafs fans’ first chance to see rookie defenseman Seth Jones in action. The fourth-overall pick in the 2013 draft has been logging big minutes for the Preds already this year, and his solid play has many pundits already considering him a favourite for the Calder Trophy. The Preds’ offensive attack is led by former Ottawa Senator Mike Fisher, who has three points in three games.

Here’s how the lines for both teams might shake out, via DailyFaceoff.com (I’ll update them when new information becomes available):

LEAFS

Forwards

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakPhil Kessel

Mason RaymondDave Bolland – Joffrey Lupul

Carter AshtonNazem KadriTroy Bodie

David Broll – Jay McClementColton Orr

Defense

Dion PhaneufCarl Gunnarsson

Morgan RiellyCody Franson

Paul RangerJake Gardiner

Goalies

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

PREDS

Forwards

Colin WilsonMike FisherPatric Hornqvist

Gabriel BourqueMatt CullenCraig Smith

Eric NystromDavid LegwandFilip Forsberg

Rich ClunePaul GaustadMatt Hendricks

Defense

Seth JonesShea Weber

Victor BartleyKevin Klein

Matthias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis

Goalies

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

  • McClement missed Tuesday’s game to attend the birth of his baby boy, and is listed as questionable tonight. I would expect him to be back, but we won’t know for sure until later today, if not right before puck drop. If he doesn’t play, 20-year-old Josh Leivo will make his NHL debut.
  • Randy Carlyle might opt to change his lines up after the loss. I would hope Kadri would see an increased role, as he played well in limited minutes Tuesday.
  • T.J. Brennan was recalled from the Marlies yesterday as well, so Carlyle might decide to change things up on the back end and put him in the lineup. If he does, I would guess it would be in place of Paul Ranger.
  • As Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck mentioned in his game preview, Bernier is 7-1 with a .932 save percentage against the Preds in his career. Reimer was the only goalie on the ice for the morning skate, so it looks like Bernier will get the start.
  • Game time is 8 p.m. Eastern and can be seen on LeafsTV and heard on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

Topics: Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs

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