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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports

LGD: Magic Number Countdown

Good morning!

Isn’t this nice?

The Leafs (43-23-7) look to bounce back from a craptastic finish on Tuesday night against the best team in the east as they take on the top team in the west in the Nashville Predators (48-14-10).

Here’s to hoping for a better finish and a strong showing in this Stanley Cup Final preview.

Leafs Lines

LW C RW
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 72.4#109 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 81.9#8 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 76.8#19 RW

Patrick Marleau
PATRICK MARLEAU

Rating: 74.5#36 LW

Nazem Kadri
NAZEM KADRI

Rating: 78.2#27 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 76.3#45 RW

James van Riemsdyk
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK

Rating: 78.6#12 LW

Tyler Bozak
TYLER BOZAK

Rating: 74.0#74 C

Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN

Rating: 71.0#72 RW

Andreas Johnsson
ANDREAS JOHNSSON
Tomas Plekanec
TOMAS PLEKANEC

Rating: 71.4#136 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 71.6#61 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 77.1#35 LD

Ron Hainsey
RON HAINSEY

Rating: 72.7#106 RD

Jake Gardiner
JAKE GARDINER

Rating: 76.5#37 LD

Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV

Rating: 72.5#115 RD

Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 73.6#72 LD

Roman Polak
ROMAN POLAK

Here we have it: the fully optimized Toronto Maple Leafs, for the first time this season. Auston Matthews returns from injury to re-join the band that now includes the likes of Andreas Johnsson, a full-time Kasperi Kapanen and a healthy Nikita Zaitsev on the back-end. You could argue for or against Roman Polak in favor of Connor Carrick, but I’m not really losing sleep over it at this point.

Predators Lines

Filip Forsberg
FILIP FORSBERG

Rating: 79.0#8 LW

Ryan Johansen
RYAN JOHANSEN

Rating: 75.3#58 C

Viktor Arvidsson
VIKTOR ARVIDSSON

Rating: 77.8#14 RW

Kevin Fiala
KEVIN FIALA

Rating: 77.5#35 LW

Kyle Turris
KYLE TURRIS

Rating: 76.5#43 C

Craig Smith
CRAIG SMITH

Rating: 77.3#36 RW

Ryan Hartman
RYAN HARTMAN

Rating: 73.2#43 LW

Nick Bonino
NICK BONINO

Rating: 72.3#112 C

Colton Sissons
COLTON SISSONS

Rating: 72.6#104 RW

Scott Hartnell
SCOTT HARTNELL

Rating: 70.7#94 LW

Mike Fisher
MIKE FISHER

Rating: 71.2#142 C

Miikka Salomaki
MIIKKA SALOMAKI

Rating: 68.8#106 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Roman Josi
ROMAN JOSI

Rating: 82.3#1 LD

Ryan Ellis
RYAN ELLIS

Rating: 82.2#3 RD

Mattias Ekholm
MATTIAS EKHOLM

Rating: 77.7#25 LD

P.K. Subban
P.K. SUBBAN

Rating: 81.6#7 RD

Alexei Emelin
ALEXEI EMELIN

Rating: 70.5#204 LD

Yannick Weber
YANNICK WEBER

Way back in last year’s playoffs, injuries and a hilarious lack of depth forced Colton Sissons into the 1C position for the Nashville Predators. Nowadays, he’s not even playing down the middle; a testament to how much they’ve improved in that department.

But seriously, this team is looking pretty deep on the front and back ends these days. This will be quite the test, but the Leafs are pretty hilariously deep themselves, and are now a healthy and capable crew.

Starting Goalies

Pekka Rinne, who has lost nine times in regulation all season and sports a .931 save percentage, goes up against Frederik Andersen, who has lost a lot of games of Fortnight and sports red hair.

Just try to win 1-0 or something.

Notes

  • The Leafs most recently defeated the Predators 3-2 in a shootout on February 7th. Can they go 2-0 on the season against arguably the League’s top team?
  • With Matthews’ return, the 30-goal watch is on again. He’s at 28 through 53 games this season.

Puck Drop is at 8pm on Sportsnet Ontario.

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