The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t have the best week, but they did get some good news on the injury front because prized offseason signing Petr Mrazek is back.
A loss to Tampa Bay, on the heels of two losses last weekend (one in OT) made this just about the worst week of the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That, however, is an indication of how well they’ve done, because this week wasn’t really that bad.
Their losses to the Wild and Lightning were both in games they played well enough to win, and considering they were against two of hockey’s best teams, it’s pretty hard to be upset about them.
The Jets game was about as unwinnable as any NHL situation can be, so no real complaints there either.
Tonight it’s a game vs the Chicago Blackhawks.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Chicago Blackhawks
As mentioned, Mrazek is back and is starting. He’s only played in two games so far, and he’s only finished one of those. Mrazek was a great signing, and everyone gets injured, so I think we should just be patient with him even though his Toronto Maple Leafs career hasn’t gotten off to the best start – he’ll prove to be a valuable addition.
Joseph Woll has rejoined the Marlies – he was OK as a fill in but obviously can’t be trusted any more than Michael Hutchinson can be.
The Blackhawks will counter with Kevin Lankinen. Kurtis Gabriel – who the Leafs traded to Chicago earlier this week – is not expected to play.
Jason Spezza is on suspension game three of six.
Mitch Marner is out with a shoulder injury.
Travis Dermott remains out.
Ilya Mikheyev is close but won’t return tonight.
Rasmus Sandin is still a couple of week away (and it’s a miracle that it’s not longer).
Still, even with a pretty depleted lineup, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be heavy favorites in this game. The Hawks are an awful team that is currently ranked 26th overall. This is a layup for the Leafs and they should win by four or five goals – you literally could not pick a better game to get Jack Campbell a night off.
The Leafs are currently in sixth overall by both points and points-percentage. They are two points back of the Panthers, so technically we could wakeup tomorrow and see them in first place again.
Finally, it looks like Ondrej Kase will get a chance on the top line with Auston Matthews tonight. He can fairly close to a hattrick last game, so this is a well earned opportunity.