Leo Komarov and Jonathan Bernier should make their return to the lineup tonight as the Leafs continue this nightmare of a road trip into Boston.
It’ll be the third time the teams meet this season, after splitting the previous two outings. The Leafs were embarrassed at home in October before dumping the Bruins in November, the latter of which was arguably their best effort of the entire season.
Heading into the new year, both teams are basically right on the dotted line for playoff contention, with the Leafs tumbling recently but clinging to a wild card spot, while Boston is looking to break in and bump them out. It looks like it’s been a weird season for the Bruins so far as they’ve been hanging around ninth in the conference for a while, which I guess is partly due to Rask being somewhat human (.911 sv%). Either way, they’re always a dangerous team, and remain in the top half of the league in terms of possession (51.4% CF at evens) so I still expect them to be in the playoffs in April.
Leafs lines via DailyFaceoff
van Riemsdyk – The Dream – Santorelli
Lupul – Bozak – Kessel
Booth – Holland – Clarkson
Ashton – Smith – Winnik
Phaneuf – Franson
Gardiner – Polak
Rielly – Holzer
These lines will change if the Corporal is good to go, likely with Ashton being taken out. But Komarov still needs doctor’s clearance, so we’ll see what happens.
If he gets the green light, we could see something like this, according to Siegel:
Leaf lines this morning: van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Kessel. Winnik-Kadri-Lupul. Komarov-Holland-Santorelli. Booth-Smith-Clarkson.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) December 31, 2014
Maybe I should have just put a question mark in this section and left it at that. Everyone will probably be too drunk to care anyway. Happy New Year!
Bruins lines via DailyFaceoff
Marchand – Krejci – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Caron
Lindblad – Cunningham – Griffith
Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Miller
This lineup could change substantially, as it appears Lucic and Bergeron will be game-time decisions after practicing with the team yesterday. Both missed the Bruins’ win against the Wings on Monday.
What to look for
- Apparently Bozak loves playing the Bruins, as he has four points against them already this season. Stay on the lookout for him to add more tonight. The upside for this kid is just incredible.
- As mentioned above, keep an eye out for lineup changes, as Komarov, Lucic and Bergeron are all notable game-time decisions. Could be some major juggling going on there.
- This is the first time the Leafs will face Zdeno Chara this season.
Let’s end this off with some words of wisdom from my main man JB. He might not know who Nelson Mandela was, but he understands how you win hockey games.
Bernier today: “The shot clock usually doesn’t lie. If [the opposition] get[s] 40-plus shots most of the nights they’ll win those games.”
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) December 30, 2014