Today is Family Day in Ontario. It’s a holiday that, as it’s name suggests, is meant to be spent with family and loved ones. That’s very sweet, but if your family is full of Leafs fans, maybe try and find something else to do other then watch the game tonight? The Leafs are in Chicago this evening to wrap up their five-game road trip, and I sincerely doubt the powerhouse Blackhawks are going to be taking it easy on them.
As expected, Toronto will be icing a very thin lineup with James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul, Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen and Josh Leivo all still on the injured reserve. At the very least, the Leafs will get Nazem Kadri back into the lineup, who is returning from a mysterious upper-body injury. Playing with Leo Komarov, Kadri will be expected to carry the offensive load this evening, which means he’ll likely be shadowed by Jonathan Toews this evening. Uh, good luck with that, Naz.
Chicago has its own significant injury to deal with, as Marian Hossa will miss tonight’s game and likely a couple weeks with a left leg injury. I’d say that the Leafs are getting a bit of a break with Hossa out of the lineup, but, you know… Toews, Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin. Hossa is a tough player to replace, but I imagine the Blackhawks will manage just fine tonight.
James Reimer is back in net tonight after appearing in a relatively quiet game against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Reimer is enjoying a career year, but has posted a sub-.800 save percentage in three straight games. He’ll look to get back on track against Chicago’s backup in Scott Darling. This is actually the second time Toronto has seen Darling this year; he was between the pipes in Chicago’s dominant 4-1 win over the Leafs just one month ago today.
I don’t see how Toronto fares any better than they did against the Blackhawks last time, what with a borderline NHL lineup and nothing to fight for. Chicago will dominate the Leafs at home, taking the game by a score of 5-1.