The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off a brutal loss to the Buffalo Sabres, and the Vancouver Canucks are in the wrong place at the wrong time, because it’s bad enough to have to fight Mike Tyson, you really don’t want to fight him while he’s angry.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs can channel their disappointment into tonight’s game, they’ll also be able to beat the one team that always seems to give them trouble.
Recently, the Leafs destroyed the Canucks, only to somehow lose in improbable fashion. The Leafs had a nearly 70% puck possession rating, and doubled the Canucks’ 5v5 shot totals, and somehow still lost.
Last year, even when Vancouver was ravaged by Covid and forced to play a series of triple-headers (at least it seemed that way) the Leafs still only won five of nine, despite being being about 25 spots better in the standings.
In fact, the Leafs have an all-time 67-74-22 record all-time vs the Canucks. Hey – it’s nothing a seven game winning streak won’t fix!
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks
Tonight’s game will see Nick Robertson get a shot alongside Johnny Tavares and William Nylander. Though the future 40 goal scorer does have a playoff goal, he is yet to pot one in the regular season.
I would look for that to change tonight.
In other injury news, Ondrej Kase is out of the lineup, as usually, do to some kind of injury. This will “only” be the 11th game he’s missed this year, but honestly, I had to look that up and I though it was going to be 25 at least. I think when you sit out every third or fifth game it just seems like you’re missing more than you are.
Either way, I don’t mind because I think the Engvall-Kampf-Mikheyev third line is the one I want to see in the playoffs.
Rasmus Sandin is also out. This is a blow, because so is Jake Muzzin. Two of the Leafs best defenseman are out, meaning that they’re going to look extremely weak on the blueline.
Good thing they’re playing the Canucks then!
One cool thing about tonight though, is that Timothy Liljegren will get to skate on the top pairing with Morgan Rielly (although I doubt the coach will use them as the #1 line, they are listed that way).
I actually think the Leafs would be making a huge mistake if roster moves lead to Liljegren sitting out in the playoffs – he’s statistically been better than 86% of NHL defenseman this year, putting up solid numbers in both ends. Sure, most of this is on the 3rd pairing, but that often gets overblown. The fact is, he and Sandin are way more valuable than people seem to think, which isn’t surprising, since the vast majority of people’s hockey opinions are based on reputation.
Jack Campbell will start.